Today we will look at the third Point System category in the statute - Sleep-in and Stand-by. Here is the text of the statute:
(iii) Sleep-in or stand-by—twenty points maximum.
First thing is to note that this is just one category that includes two activities with a maximum of 20 points. We have reviewed some point systems that break this into two categories, giving 20 points for sleep-ins and 20 points for stand-bys. This should not be done - it is just one category with a maximum of 20 points.
Since there are two different activities in this one category, we'll break this into two parts.
There is no clarification on what a "full night" is. We recommend that you put some kind of parameter on it, by defining the hours. For example, 10 PM to 6 AM. Something to that effect.
In the audit of the Gardiner Fire District, the report included the following comment: "Participants were not required to be present at the firehouse to earn
points for this activity, but instead could be on stand-by overnight at their homes. District officials told us that participants sign up for a tour-of-duty for the overnight period, but the officials could not provide documentation to support the tours served." One of the issues raised in this audit was that the Fire District included a "Tour of Duty" category, which is not allowed under the firefighter statute (Article 11-A of the General Municipal Law). This comment was in response to that, and the report used the word "stand-by" in the comments. But the context of the comment was in a 6 or 12-hour tour-of-duty, more like a "sleep-in".
Although the report does not specifically state that a sleep-in (or stand-by) must occur at the firehouse (or just not at home), the implication is certainly there. Any LOSAP sponsor should be careful about allowing sleep-ins (or stand-bys) at home - it is essential that good controls are in place to prevent abuse. But we cannot find any legal opinion or court ruling that would prevent a sponsor from allowing an at-home stand-by.
At least here there is a brief definition - must last four hours, covered by VFBL, and doesn't fall under one of the other categories. Most fire departments are accustomed to a stand-by for a storm, or at another firehouse during an installation dinner , or perhaps at a sporting event. The key is to ensure the activity lasts at least four hours. If it doesn't, then it would be considered a Miscellaneous point.
Besides the information in the Gardiner audit, there has not been a lot of guidance from the State on this category, in either a formal legal opinion or an audit report.
Sharing my thoughts and insights on LOSAP, and occasionally other topics.