Friday Update 3-1-24
Updated On: Apr 09, 2024


Brothers & Sisters,

This last week, President Gillotte joined the California Professional Firefighters legislative team in Sacramento to give important testimony to the Senate and Assembly Select Committee on Mental Health, Addiction, and California’s Mental Health Crisis, helping guide the Legislature and Governor’s focus and budget allocations for the next legislative session.  This is important not only to bring our experience from the street to the halls of Sacramento for the crisis plaguing the public we serve but also to keep the focus on the support we need for our members about mental health.
Testimony was given on the California Fire Service Behavioral Health Task Force, a committee President Gillotte Co-Chairs with Kristine Thompson, Newport Beach Fire EMS Div Chief RN and Cal Chiefs appointee to the committee.  The Legislature learned of our committee’s work on behalf of CPF, Cal Chiefs, Cal OES, and CAL JAC to address behavioral health issues in the fire service.  The task force's work is to break the stigma and bring FFs, Lifeguards, EMTs, PMs, Dispatchers, and all fire service workers out of the shadows to establish PEER support teams with culturally competent clinicians. This work was laid out for the Senators and Assemblymembers to learn and understand our path to help our members and their families attain better mental health on and off duty.  
We spoke of our critical moment when suicide and suicidal ideation overtook our profession as the highest cause of death for two years running, and the alarm that sounded moving us to address behavioral health with the same vigor, if not more than physical injuries and health.  We also covered the legislation the committee crafted through CPF to give us presumption, funding, and confidentiality for our PEER support teams.  We discussed common language and training so PEERS in the north can be on the same page as those in the south and across the Country for shared resources.  Examples of IAFF / IAFC deployments nationally were highlighted with work for the first responders and the communities affected by such tragedies.  
SB 542 by Senator Stern in 2019 established a landmark workers’ compensation presumption for post-traumatic stress injuries, and SB 623 by Senator Laird in 2023 extended the sunset of that presumption to ensure that firefighters would continue to access care when needed.  Unfortunately, that legislation was not able to extend coverage to public safety dispatchers, who are an essential piece of the response model and who are exposed to much of the same trauma as firefighters daily, but we are working hard to continue research and pursue this much-needed policy. We highlighted the need to move our public safety dispatchers into the law, and the next legislative session will have our efforts moving forward to do just that.  
The discussion and question and answer period was rich along with experts from Street Medicine and Training Specialists for Psychologists and Psychiatrists, Clinical Care Specialists and the Fire Service relating experience to help prioritize where the limited funds might best be applied.  We spoke of the use of Telemedicine and Alternative Transport Destinations along with Street Medicine to deliver the proper care to mentally ill patients who do not need to be transported to the emergency room, but rather to sobering centers or behavioral health centers for care.  The legal hurdles to changing the norm have been constant and challenging. Still, we have made much progress with our pilot programs to redefine behavioral health medicine in delivering care to our communities and in coordination with homeless measures and housing measures, as we have seen in LA County and now at the state with Prop1, which has conservatorship embedded in the law, we will continue to secure the resources for our members and help guide the path for treating our patients in the field.  We’ll keep you up to date as the legislature starts down the path of allocating budget monies for this important issue.

Click here to view the full testimony beginning at 1:05. 

This week, your Local 1014 Union Board attended a very important event with the our Department's Disability Management Section (Return to Work) and our third party administrator (TPA) of our workers comp system, Sedgewick.

The event was designed to allow Sedgwick’s adjusters to witness and experience first hand what we do every day, day in day out, multiple times a day with the ever escalating run load that we are going on. They were able to witness simulations of hose lays, vehicle extrication, put turnout gear on, a breathing apparatus on their backs, and see a lot of our specialized equipment. For example, USAR 103 with the Heavy Rescue, HazMat 43, and the lifeguard section were all in attendance. A special shoutout goes out to Fire Station 64 for the hospitality they showed everyone in attendance as the event had to be moved at the last minute from ECTC due to the new recruit class starting. 

The event is designed to show how our injuries can happen, during the course of day to business for us. Sedgwick personnel were able to pick up tools and equipment to actually feel the weight of them, so when an injury claim comes across their desk, they have a better idea of how it may have happened. Our thought process in this is that we can get our members injuries accepted quicker, treated and get our members back to work. 

Your Union Board has had numerous meetings with the Department about the workers' comp system and we have always been told by the executive staff, to include the Fire Chief, “we want our members treated no different than professional athletes” and that workers comp is “one of the highest priorities that we have right now in the department”.  

After all, we all recently read EA-78 about our third year raise and strategies to “improve workers comp and prioritize behavioral health, cancer, heart, and orthopedic claims to ensure timely treatment with less delays”. What better way to impress upon the people administering our workers comp system than to speak directly to them? We want to thank the executive staff and the Fire Chief for saying these things; however, as we all know, actions speak louder than words.

At the event, the executive staff would have been able to address Sedgwick personnel as a collective, and impress upon them that same point,  if only they had attended the event. Unfortunately, the helicopter expo took priority over the health and well-being of our injured workers.

We want to thank the following chiefs for attending the event and showing that our members are a top priority: Dennis Breshears, Bob Gunther, Gerald Gonzales, our lifeguard Chief Uyehara, and all of our return-to-work captains. Your Union Board spoke to the personnel of Sedgewick directly on behalf of our members, as our members' treatment is a top priority for us, and we hope the Department, through actions and not words, will also make it a top priority. 
Final Staffing Survey: LAST DAY TO COMPLETE!
Please check your spam and junk folders diligently, and be sure to complete the survey. If anyone in your stations has yet to sign up for the Friday Updates on the website, encourage them to do so and take the survey. 

Feel free to call any Local 1014 Director or the staffing committee members if you have any questions about the survey.  Thank you to all our members during this trial period for your patience and your input to improve our system so it works for everyone. 

If you have checked your spam folder and still have not received the email, please email
LA County Fire Safety Measure   
Visit to learn more. 

Local 1014 continues aggressively moving forward on the signature gathering for our ballot initiative to secure more funding for our Department, including staffing, infrastructure, apparatus, and equipment. We are currently gathering signatures in locations throughout the district.  

REMINDER: If you get questions while in the field working or calls at the station, you can confirm there is a citizen's initiative for additional funding for the LA County Fire District. You can also direct them to the website above or any Local 1014 Executive Board member. 

If someone approached you in the station asking for firefighters to gather signatures or sign petitions, do not accept. Get their name and ask them to leave the station. 

We have a lot of work to do to secure those votes, but together, we can win for the future of our Department and our families. Thank you all in advance for your consideration of our collective efforts.

In Solidarity, 

President Dave Gillotte and the Local 1014 Executive Board 

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