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       In December 1991, City of Rochester Fire Captain John Liparie presented a Fire Department Safety Officers course at the Monroe County Criminal Justice and Public Safety Training Center. During the course a great deal of discussion centered on the fact that more and more departments were finally getting into the field of firefighter safety. The course was attended by firefighters from Monroe County and beyond, and the concern many had was that each department would have to ‘reinvent the wheel’ as they created their own safety programs. One month later a scheduled meeting showed that there was enough interest to keep getting together to discuss firefighter safety. After three more meetings, those in attendance decided that in order to maintain the group’s focus a more formal structure was needed.

       At the September 1992 meeting, preliminary discussions took place to establish the specific operational guidelines of the Monroe County Association of Fire Department Safety Officers. It was decided that “The mission of this Association will be to further the interest of Fire Department Safety Officers in Monroe and surrounding Counties, in the State of New York. It will also be the Mission of the Association to further Health and Safety improvements in the fire service, both as to personnel and equipment, for the protection of life and property.” The positions of President, Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer were established as the Association Officers, to be elected by ballot at the annual meeting held in January of each year. Bimonthly meetings are hosted by various Fire Departments around Monroe County on a rotating basis. Since the beginning, that has grown to include Fire Departments from the surrounding counties, as well.

       Yearly dues was originally set at $25.00 for each participating department, and later increased to its current annual rate of $30.00. Each participating department has unlimited representation included with their membership, meaning any department member is allowed to attend the meetings. In voting matters, each department is allowed one vote.

       In December 1992, the final drafts of the organization were made ready for approval and the Association received a motion of support from the Monroe County Chief’s Association. The first newly elected officers of the MCAFDSO took their seats in January 1993 and the Association’s Constitution and By-Laws were approved. One of the first motions carried out by the body was application for membership in the national Fire Department Safety Officer’s Association (FDSOA), which was unanimously approved.

       Since its inception, the Association has played an important role in maintaining the safety of firefighters in Monroe County. Currently, Fire Departments from Monroe (including the City of Rochester), Orleans, Genesee, Ontario and Wayne Counties, as well as the City of Ottawa, Canada are represented by and affiliated with this Association. A few of our many accomplishments include establishing a county wide evacuation signal, a standardized Incident Safety Officer worksheet, and working on a standardized fire ground accountability system.

       Each October, the Association presents an annual seminar that focuses on timely topics, and features guest speakers with national recognition in their fields of firefighter safety. We review accidents involving both apparatus and personnel (on and off the fire ground), station safety, OSHA and NFPA compliance, legislative news and the national scene as pictured by the FDSOA.

       Membership in the Association continues to grow and we encourage all departments to attend the meetings. We continue to provide a bimonthly newsletter to inform everyone of current situations and upcoming events. We would be more than happy to talk with anyone looking to form their own Association and share not only our experiences, but also a copy of our by-laws, constitution and anything else that might be helpful.

 

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