emergency responders

Legal Q&A: How State Law Regulates Volunteer and On-Call Firefighters and Other Emergency Staff

This article discusses some of the statutes applicable to volunteer and on-call firefighters and emergency medical service personnel. Such persons perform the majority of this important first responder work in our municipalities, and the law has given them special protections to encourage their contributions to our collective public safety.

Q: I would like to be a firefighter in my municipality. What are the requirements?

The Federal Narrowbanding Mandate: Is Your Community Ready?

You may have heard the term “narrowbanding” and you may know that it has something to do with the radio communications systems used in your community. This article will provide the information you need to comply with a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate that will affect two-way radio communications systems, including those used by state, county and local governments. Effective January 1, 2013, all radio systems operating on frequencies between 150 and 512 Megahertz (MHz) must employ “narrowband” emissions.

Fire Chiefs and the Law: What You Don't Know Will Hurt You

There are many liability challenges facing today's fire service and fire chiefs. Constantly changing civil rights laws and technology have brought issues forth never conceived of before that are now an everyday occurrence.

Ever think you would have to worry about one of your staff immediately videotaping an emergency and, within a minute or two, uploading it to the Internet for broadcast around the world? What is social media and why do you need a policy on it? Welcome to fire service concerns of the 21st century.

Community Spotlight: Police Chief's Timely Emergency Responder Skills Save a Life in Jackson

It started out like a routine day on the job. Jackson Police Department Chief Karl Meyers was patrolling the area and stopped a vehicle for speeding near Pinkham Notch. Shortly thereafter, Karl heard an all-points bulletin broadcast requesting medical help for an unconscious 54-year-old man who was identified as not breathing and in a car located in Jackson, six miles down the road.

Energy Assurance for Municipalities

By Meghan McPherson

Energy assurance-as opposed to energy emergency response-is increasingly recognized not only as an important component of the nation's energy emergency planning, but also as a more comprehensive approach intended to:

Public Safety on the Roadways: Duties and Protections Under the Law

It is easy to take public facilities for granted. Keeping those facilities maintained and in repair is not an easy task, and use of facilities such as highways or the town hall often cannot stop while municipal staff or contractors perform the work. In the recent New Hampshire Supreme Court case of Appeal of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, decided October 28, 2005, the court was faced with the claim of a motorist whose vehicle was damaged by a state snowplow.

Dealing with Homeland Security Issues at the Local Level

In the post 9/11 era, municipalities have renewed their focus on local emergency management duties. Disasters may result from acts of nature, or from the negligent or intentional acts of people. Emergency management is the process of planning for an incident, taking steps to prevent the occurrence of the incident if possible, responding to an incident should one occur, followed by efforts to recover from the negative impacts upon persons, property and economic activities caused by the incident.

Multiple Levels of Emergency Preparedness: Where Do Municipalities Fit?

In recent years, we have been bombarded by almost daily reports of potential pandemics, natural disasters and concerns about terrorist attacks. These events range from local to statewide, national to global. The size of the emergency can dictate how many layers of government agencies will be involved. In almost all cases, however, local government will be the first to respond.

Expanded Immunity for Police Officers: What It Means for Municipalities

The doctrine of official immunity is designed to encourage and safeguard the ability of government officials to exercise their duties and carry out their functions without being hampered by concerns over possible liability from litigation. On September 21, 2007, the New Hampshire Supreme Court issued an opinion (Sarah Everitt v. General Electric Company, Docket No. 2006-481) which will have far-reaching consequences for police officers and the municipalities that employ them.

Emergency Vehicle Liability: What Every Responder Should Know About the Law

By Ron O’Keefe

Across the country, recent news stories bear headlines such as these when reporting on motor vehicle collisions involving emergency responders:

  • • Fireman charged in fatality
  • • Charges against firefighter dismissed
  • • Family of fallen firefighter sues town

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 34 percent of firefighter deaths in 2004 occurred while responding to or returning from alarms.1