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Pa. FDs urged to have certified instructors with junior FFs during live burns

The state’s labor department issued a notice after a department was fined and fire chief suspended for a junior firefighter being burned in training

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Friendship Fire and Hose Co.1/Facebook

By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry is urging Pennsylvania volunteer fire departments to ensure that a credentialed state academy fire instructor is on site to supervise any live burn trainings that include 17-year-old junior firefighters — as required by an amendment to the Child Labor Act that went into effect in January, according to a press release.

The department issued the release in regard to the Bureau of Labor Law Compliance which assessed fines against the Shamokin Friendship Fire & Hose Co. for the fire companies’ failure to have a certified instructor on-site during a live burn training during which a 17-year-old volunteer firefighter suffered non-life-threatening burns.

“The recent change in the law helps Pennsylvania’s volunteer fire companies recruit and train the next generation of volunteer firefighters, which is so important to the safety of our communities,” Labor and Industry Secretary Nancy A. Walker said.

The Friendship Fire & Hose Co., Shamokin Fire Department, was fined $1,000 for the violation and Northumberland County Director of Public Safety Steve Jeffery was suspended.

[PREVIOUSLY: Pa. fire chief, captain suspended after junior FF is burned in training]

Shamokin City Councilman Bill Milbrand said Jeffery was suspended indefinitely after a junior firefighter allegedly suffered burns during a training exercise in Selinsgrove in July.

Shamokin Council voted 4-1 to suspend Jeffery.

“The priority during any training event must be to ensure the safety of all those who are participating,” State Fire Commissioner Tom Cook said in a press release Wednesday. “It is imperative that we do everything we can to provide high-quality training that is safe, and that it meets or exceeds national standards so that inexperienced and young firefighters can develop their skills without risk of injury.”

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