San Diego Firefighter, Local 145 Member Receives Governor's Medal of Valor

Governor Brown and Attorney General Harris with San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Firefighter Alexander Wallbrett. Photo Credit: Dionne Grubbs, California Department of Justice.

Governor Brown and Attorney General Harris with San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Firefighter Alexander Wallbrett. Photo Credit: Dionne Grubbs, California Department of Justice.

San Diego firefighter and Local 145 member Alex Wallbrett was awarded the Governor's Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor in recognition of the heroic actions he took to stop a life-threatening assault on a colleague.

Wallbrett's actions took place on June 24, 2015, when his crew was providing medical treatment to a sick and intoxicated patient at San Diego's downtown trolley station. A bystander, who refused orders to back away from the patient, began swinging a knife at firefighter Ben Vernon. The attacker stabbed Firefighter Vernon twice in the torso.

Without hesitation and regard for his own safety,  Wallbrett jumped a metal fence and rushed to Firefighter Vernon's aid, placing himself between his partner and the knife wielding suspect.

Wallbrett wrestled with the attacker, preventing further injury to his partner. During the struggle, he was stabbed three times, including a stab wound close to his spine. The suspect was eventually subdued by other fire department personnel and officers from the Metropolitan Transit System. Firefighter Vernon suffered a broken rib and collapsed lung.  

Both Vernon Wallbrett have made full recoveries and returned to duty.

The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Act of 2003 gives the Governor the authority to award a Medal of Valor to public safety officers who are cited by the Attorney General for extraordinary valor above and beyond the call of duty. The Attorney General's Office receives nominations from public safety agencies. These nominations are reviewed by the Medal of Valor Review Board, which makes a recommendation to the Attorney General.

 

Proud Union Firefighters Represent on Labor Day

Firefighters stepped up and gave back this Labor Day weekend, showing their solidarity with our proud movement and reminding everyone that the union is all of us.

Labor Day events around the state featured firefighters doing everything from cooking at Labor Day barbecues to participating in Labor Day parades and picnics.

Was your local standing strong for all working families? Tweet us your images from Labor Day to @CAFirefighters and #TheUnionIsUs. 

UFLAC Local 112 Again Fights to Keep Arsonist Behind Bars

An arsonist convicted of murder in the death of a brother firefighter is up for parole and, once again, United Firefighters Local 112 is leading the fight to keep him behind bars.

Mario Catanio was convicted of murder in the death of Los Angeles firefighter Thomas Taylor. The 34-year-old died in a horrific fall in a blistering North Hollywood fire later proven to have been started by Catanio as part of an insurance fraud scheme.

On September 29, 2016, Catanio will have his third parole hearing in four years at Solano State Prison in Vacaville. Thanks to hundreds of letters written by firefighters, family members and citizens, Catanio has remained behind bars. In 2012 and 2015, the State Parole Board granted parole, but the action was overturned by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Ahead of the parole hearing, Local 112 is again asking all our union brothers and sisters to write letters in opposition to Catanio's release. You can get more info, including letter-writing info and a sample letter, at www.uflac.org

Letters must be postmarked by Sept. 13, or brought to UFLAC offices by Sept. 13th. 

WATCH: CPF Firevision report from 2013 tells the story of Brother Taylor's murder and the strong effort by Local 112 and their union brothers and sisters to keep his killer behind bars.

Central Fire Local 3605 wins fight over retroactive salary pay-back scheme

Central Fire Santa Cruz Firefighter's Local 3605 wins two-year contract fight over Central Fire District's punitive retroactive "salary pay-back" proposal.

A new two-year deal includes COLA raises, career enhancement and additional rescue personnel.

Gone is the district's universally derided plan to force firefighters to not only accept a 7% pay cut, but actually pay back an additional 7% of salary.

The unprecedented and punitive retroactive pay give-back drew national scorn, as working people in and out of the fire service pushed back with a united voice.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

San Jose Fire Fighters Retiree Shares Story of Work Comp Fight

A retired San Jose firefighter has been receiving treatment for years after he fell through a roof during an incident.

But all of a sudden, the independent entity hired by San Jose to "contain costs" has denied his previously-agreed Workers' Comp medical treatment.

Retired Captain Marty Hoenisch shared his story with a local news station's investigative team, one of dozens in San Jose who say the Workers Comp system is denying without cause.

California Professional Firefighters President Lou Paulson says the incident is one of many that has been forwarded to CPF, as part of an effort to crack down on the capricious denial of legitimate Work Comp claims.

WATCH THE STORY HERE

California Professional Firefighters is sponsoring legislation aimed at cracking down on instant denials and punishing insurers and medical reviewers who don't properly report Workers' Comp data. Action on SB 1160 (Mendoza) is expected this week. 

Giving Back - Roseville Firefighters Kids Camp

A Different Kind of Summer Camp

Roseville Firefighters Local 1592 gives dozens of local kids a hands-on adventure, learning what being a firefighter is all about.

Local 1592's Firefighter Kids Camp is a week-long immersion for young people. Kids spend each day experiencing what firefighters do, from burn room simulations to search and rescue, ladder climbing and EMS. There's even a swift water session near the river.

Local 1592 members volunteer their time and work with the department to have access to the training center.

As you can see in the video, the kids think it's pretty cool.