NINETY-SEVENTH EDITION
Last month marked the 60th anniversary of the Olympic Winter Games at Squaw Valley. CAL FIRE, Division of Forestry back then, provided the fire protection for the Olympic Village and all competition areas in and around Squaw Valley.
Photo via CAL FIRE NEU Facebook
Upcoming CAL FIRE Benevolent Foundation events near you

March 14, 2020: St. Patrick's Fundraiser in memory of Mark Domingue at The TARMAC in Atwater, CA.

April 10, 2020: 6th Annual No One Left Behind Golf Tournament at Rancho Del Rey Golf Course in Atwater, CA.

April 30 - May 1, 2020: 8th Annual Golf Invitational & Wine Tasting event at Cache Creek Casino Resort, Yocha Dehe Golf Course. Register here!
Women firefighters face high exposure to toxic ‘forever chemicals’
San Francisco’s women firefighters are exposed to higher levels of certain toxic PFAS chemicals than women working in downtown San Francisco offices, shows a new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, San Francisco, and Silent Spring Institute.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are used in grease- and water-resistant coatings and can be found in fabrics, furniture and food packaging, but also notably in firefighting foam and turnout gear. These “forever chemicals,” which don’t easily break down in the environment, have been linked to a variety of cancers and are known to interfere with immune function, endocrine function and breast development.

The study, which appears online today (Wednesday, Feb. 26) in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, is one of the first published results from the  Women Firefighter Biomonitoring Collaborative , a long-term investigation into the chemical exposures faced by women firefighters. Partners in the collaboration include the  United Fire Service Women , the  San Francisco Cancer Prevention Foundation Commonweal  and  Breast Cancer Prevention Partners .

“Women firefighters actually raised concern about what they have perceived as elevated rates of breast cancer among their cohort in San Francisco,” said Jessica Trowbridge, a graduate student at UC Berkeley and lead author of the paper. “As a team, we decided to conduct an exposure study looking at chemicals that are potential breast carcinogens.”

While studies are beginning to document higher rates of cancer among firefighters and higher PFAS exposures, in particular, these studies have primarily focused on men. Documenting the risks faced specifically by women firefighters is critical to ensuring that they receive the protections they need, both for cancer prevention and for compensation if they get sick.

Get to know your CAL FIRE Local 2881 Honor Guard
Get To Know Your DVP
Q & A with Mike Morlan
Q. What is your current role in CAL FIRE Local 2881?
A. District Vice President for District 4, overseeing the areas of Fresno-Kings, San Benito-Monterey, and Tulare Units; this includes the Contract County of Kern County. I am the voice of our District at the Executive Board level, make decisions on behalf of the District membership, and direct the activities of the District and its Officers.

Q. How long have you been involved in Local 2881?
A. I've been involved in our Union for 17 years. I started as an officer in our Union as the Finance Director in 2003 while I was an Engineer in the San Luis Obispo Unit. I knew we had a Union and never had a problem paying dues, even though I didn't really know what the Union did. I just knew it was something good. I was told I had to sign up, and I never really minded the money coming out of my paycheck if it was a good thing that I could benefit from. Even back then, the Union had a reputation to it, and you knew who the Union Officers were. My Captain was the Chapter Director, and they needed a treasurer for our Chapter, so when he asked me if I wanted to do it, I said, "why the heck not." I mean, no one else wanted to do it… the rest is history.

Q. What Union Officer positions have you held?
A. After two years of being the Finance Director, my Captain retired, and I became the Chapter Director. It was then that I learned how to work with Unit Management, and it didn't go quite as expected. Those early years were hard, but I learned and matured through it all. In 2008 after promoting to San Benito- Monterey Unit, I became the Rank & File Director, and then I became the Chapter Director for the San Benito-Monterey Chapter in 2012. While serving as a Chapter Officer in BEU, I was able to avoid the loss of a member's job and was able to be successful in an important meet and confer that restored vacation for our members. I built a strong relationship with Unit management staff after some tough and turbulent years. In 2016, I became the Deputy District Vice President and then was elected to District Vice President in 2017 and have had the privilege to be in this position for the last two terms.

Q. Why is it important to be involved in Local 2881?
A. I believe it's important to be involved in our Union so that we can keep our Union strong and powerful in order to protect our wages, benefits, and working conditions. We stand on the shoulders of those before us who fought so hard to get us where we are today. Only TOGETHER can we make an impact on our wages, work hours, workplace health and safety, benefits, and work-related issues. The Union is you and me, it's all of us; to better our future for ourselves, our families, and those that come after us, our future.

Q. What Union accomplishments are you most proud of?
A. One of the things that I am most proud of that our Union accomplished is the rebranding of what we now know as CAL FIRE, including our blue uniforms, the new patch, and the impacts it made on the way we are looked at from the public to the State legislatures.

Local 2881 visits Washington DC each and every year to lobby at Capitol Hill to our local Senate and Congress members. Last year I had the privilege to meet with Congressman Ami Bera about the Hero Act (Helping Emergency Responders Overcome Act of 2019), which would improve the detection, prevention, and treatment of mental health issues among first responders. He asked for our help to encourage other members of Congress to co-sponsor the bill so that it would become law, and I was able to meet with other members of Congress and convince them to do just that.

Back in 2010, I was able to get someone's job back by overturning a termination at a Skelly hearing. It feels really good to protect someone's job and, being able to keep members working and their families fed.
As there have been other accomplishments of memory that our Union has done for its members as in protecting us from furloughs and our recent pay raises, it feels good to be a part of a group that has worked hard politically to get our Department more staffing for the health and wellness of our members and to return from Convention with no dues increases is something that we should all be proud to be a part of. I'm excited that I am part of the leadership of this Union that is getting results and being able to build on this success.

Q. What are your thoughts looking ahead for Local 2881?
A. Looking ahead to our Unions future, we are obligated, and it's my mission to keep our members informed and getting them involved. We need to keep making an impact on our members' work-life and home life balance, mobilizing our members around current issues, and getting more involved in our communities. We need to keep the ability to advocate for our members, and that starts with getting out and meeting with our members face to face, educating the members on our history and how they can make a difference within their Union, empowering our members with information, and listening to them about their issues and needs.
Letter of support from Congressman Jimmy Panetta.
Mike Morlan and Sam Davis last year in Washington, DC, meeting with Ami Bera to advocate for our members.
Did you know as active and retired members, you can give more through payroll deduction to support organizations who support our families?

Fill out the CAL FIRE Local 2881
Benefit Program Application
Mail completed form to L2881 HQ
Study shows correlation between rapid dispatch of air tankers and duration of wildfire
Data suggests duration of fires is shorter when air tankers are deployed early

A study conducted by university researchers  found that the speed of arrival of air tankers at a new fire is correlated with fires of shorter duration. Firefighters have known this for decades, but the use of data to confirm it has been lacking. It is a small step, until the eight-year Aerial Firefighting Use and Effectiveness study is released.

The research was commissioned by Global SuperTanker Services, the company that operates the 747 SuperTanker that can carry up to 19,200 gallons of fire retardant. Raw data about air tankers that were dispatched to 11,655 fires from 2014 through 2018 was acquired from the U.S. Forest Service by means of a Freedom of Information Act Request.

Keith L. Waters, Ph.D. and Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D., of George Mason University who specialize in public policy and statistics, conducted the study. The factors they considered included the elapsed time between the first report of a wildfire and the arrival of air tankers at the fire. The duration of the fire was defined as the time between the first report and the arrival of the last air tanker over the fire.

The study concluded, for example, that among 11,655 fires in which large air tankers were deployed, fires burned on average for less than one day when tankers were deployed in the first 4-6 hours of a reported fire. Fires in which tankers were deployed after 72 hours burned on average for more than 20 days.

The researchers also analyzed “fires fought by the State of California”, and found that on the 6,278 fires, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection had air tankers over the fires within one hour of the first report 96.7 percent of the time. That compares to 37.9 percent of “fires not fought by the State of California”.

Did you just recently retire? Congratulations! Make sure to sign up to be a CAL FIRE Local 2881 Retired Member and stay in the know!

Reach out to Danielle dkelsch@L2881.org
CalHR Savings Plus - Important Changes
CalHR Savings Plus wants all state employees to know about important upcoming changes

Savings Plus is redesigning and customizing its Core Investment Lineup and Target Date Funds. To transition to the new investment fund lineup, Saving Plus is introducing a Reselection Window to give participants an opportunity to make their investment selections. The Reselection Window will open on April 1, 2020, and will close on May 22, 2020. Participants who do not choose their own investments during the Reselection Window will be invested in the Target Date Fund (TDF) that most closely aligns with the year in which they turn age 65. 
 
For more information about the initiative, visit the  Times Change. So Can the Way You Invest   webpage on  savingsplusnow.com .
CalPERS COLA effective May 1, 2020
Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)
The Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) is a benefit to ensure your value of money at retirement keeps up with the rate of inflation. Typically, this benefit begins the second calendar year of retirement, although the annual rate of inflation and retirement law could affect the onset of your COLA. Under existing retirement law, retirees receive an annual COLA paid in the May 1 warrant each year.
COLA is dependent on three factors:

How COLA Is Calculated
To calculate COLA, CalPERS:

Step 1: Calculates the rate of inflation, based on retirement year.
(Current CPI - Retirement Year CPI) / Retirement CPI = Rate of Inflation

Step 2: Calculates the compounded contracted COLA Provision percentage.
(example based on 2% contracted COLA Provision)
First year of COLA, 2% (no compounding)
Second year of COLA, 2% = 2% x 1.02% + 2% = 4.04%
Third year of COLA, 2% = 4.04% x 1.02% + 2% = 6.12%

Step 3: Uses the lesser of the two numbers from step 1 and 2, this is your COLA factor.

Step 4: Calculates COLA. Base x COLA Factor = COLA

For more info go to https://www.calpers.ca.gov/page/retirees/cost-of-living/cola or call 1.800.225.7377
In Case You Missed It
10 Vegetables to Plant in Spring to Kickstart Your Garden
The early spring can make for a good time to jumpstart your spring garden, especially for plants that can withstand lingering shots of cold air.

Cold-hardy plants can handle a few frosts, and you can start the seeds either indoors or outdoors, depending on where you live. The United States Department of Agriculture  Plant Hardiness Zone Map  provides detailed information about which plants are most likely to thrive in your location.

Read which vegetables are great to plant now .
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If a fire fighter you care about has died by suicide, you may be struggling to understand or make sense of what happened while also coping with a range of intense emotions.

Why Do People Kill Themselves?
Mental health experts agree that people commit suicide primarily because of overwhelming and unbearable mental and emotional pain that is viewed as unending and unfixable – and that only dying will end the pain. 

Choosing suicide is not the same as making other choices. A multitude of personal and environmental factors — from severe depression to social isolation, to not knowing how to ask for help — play a role in suicide. Each situation is unique.

If You Have Lost a Fire Fighter to Suicide
Losing someone to suicide can bring on a wide range of emotions, including disbelief, anger, guilt or blame. To learn more about common reactions after losing someone to suicide, see the IAFF guide  Fire Fighter Suicide: How to Cope With Grief and Loss .

Use these strategies to help take care of yourself during this especially difficult time:
  • Connect with people who care about you and comfort one another, including your brothers and sisters in the firehouse.
  • Tell people what you need — and what is helpful and what is not.
  • Understand that painful feelings will ebb and flow. Emotions build up and peak, then diminish and recede before starting all over again.
  • Look for calm by breathing deeply, visualizing a peaceful scene or doing something you know will relax you.
  • Keep it simple – take care of your basic needs: food, water and sleep.
  • Focus on today – not the next thing that needs to be done.
  • Allow yourself to say yes or no to being around particular people or activities.
  • Be hopeful by believing that it is possible to get through this difficult time and be okay.
  • Remember the strengths you have used in your life to meet other challenges you have faced.
  • Protect yourself by minimizing risky behavior, including using alcohol or drugs.

Is your physical/mailing address updated with us?

Did you get the Fire Front mailed to your home in late November? If not, then we don't have your current address.

It's important for us to have it in case you are impacted or may be impacted by a wildfire or other emergency. Use the link below, call or email us to update it today!

(916) 609-8711 / dkelsch@L2881.org
Are you going to have corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day?
Ingredients:
1 corned beef brisket (about 4 pounds) with spice packet
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 bay leaves
3-1/2 pounds small potatoes (10-15), peeled
8 medium carrots, halved crosswise
1 medium head cabbage, cut into wedges
HORSERADISH SAUCE:
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 to 1-1/2 cups reserved cooking juices from corned beef
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 cup horseradish
MUSTARD SAUCE (optional):
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sugar

From Our Friends

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The BSI Body Scan Program:
The BSI Body Scan program combines thousands of dollars’ worth of medical imaging with a full physician consultation and review. Our proprietary technology utilizing Mobile Telemedicine Vans allows us to provide our program to patients virtually anywhere, with convenient on-site scanning followed by the comprehensive and confidential consultation/scan review into the patients’ home (or workplace, if permissible and appropriate) utilizing our HIPAA-compliant WebEx portal. 

We screen for many diseases of greatest concern to public safety – heart/cardiovascular diseases, lower back and neck pathologies, over 20 different types of cancer, chronic lung disease, and many others. Our personalized service is designed to provide patients with a healthcare experience unlike any other they have previously encountered, which is both highly educational and motivating. Our primary goal is to provide individuals with a preventive examination that will improve the quality and length of their life, while enhancing their productivity and vigor both inside and outside of the workplace. We have numerous success stories on file, and we take great pride in the fact that our main referral source (both individually and organizationally) is our satisfied clientele.

See firefighter testimonials:

Has your marital status changed? Update your L2881 beneficiary information with us today. Fill out this form and send it to Danielle @ dkelsch@L2881.org
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UPCOMING EVENTS

IAFF LEGISLATIVE CONVENTION
MARCH 9-11

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING
MARCH 31-APRIL 2

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING
JULY 14-16

IAFF CONVENTION
AUGUST 10-14

IAFF FALLEN FIRE FIGHTER MEMORIAL
SEPTEMBER 19

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING
SEPTEMBER 23-25

CAL FIRE BENEVOLENT
 FOUNDATION

Provides funds for immediate life sustaining assistance to firefighters and their families who have suffered debilitating injury or loss of life.

For more information or to donate, visit the website .

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CAL FIRE MUSEUM

Have you checked out the CAL FIRE museum website yet?

Don't forget to sign up for their newsletter too!



For more updates, events, and news visit our website: