<[emergency] docking="" facilities=""> <[emergency] crews="" working="" to="" clear="" the="" roads="">." Webster's Third New International Dictionary 741 (1993). While we agree with the appellate court that an "emergency" includes an element of urgency and the need for immediate action, we also believe it involves an unforeseen circumstance or event requiring that immediate action.
¶ 63 Further, section 10(b) covers situations arising in the performance of a public safety employee's job. The four factors from section 10(b) involve potentially dangerous situations occurring in the course of employment. A firefighter's employment includes responding to situations involving imminent danger to a person or property. The term "emergency" in section 10(b), as applied to a firefighter, connotes the sense that either a person or property is in some form of imminent danger.
¶ 64 We, therefore, conclude that the plain and ordinary meaning of the term "emergency" in section 10(b) is an unforeseen circumstance involving imminent danger to a person or property requiring an urgent response. To be entitled to continuing health coverage benefits under section 10(b), the injury must occur in response to what is reasonably believed to be an unforeseen circumstance involving imminent danger to a person or property requiring an urgent response.
¶ 65 Gaffney's crew was given instructions on how to proceed prior to the exercise. However, the allegations show that an unforeseen circumstance arose after the exercise began. As the firefighters were advancing up the stairwell to the third floor, the hose line became entangled in an unseen object. The entanglement of the hose in the unseen object is certainly an unforeseen circumstance. The response to this event was also unforeseen. Gaffney was required to follow the hose line back to the obstruction and free the hose with no visibility and the risk of becoming disoriented in the smoke-filled building.
¶ 66 The unforeseen conditions alleged by Gaffney involved imminent danger to a person or property requiring an urgent response. The tangled hose line called for an urgent response because the crew was stranded on the stairwell to the third floor of the burning building with no visibility and no water to put out the fire. In those minutes, the training exercise turned into an emergency.
¶ 67 Any fire, even one set in a training exercise, carries the potential for a life-threatening situation. No matter how many safety precautions are taken, there is always a chance that a person may be injured or even killed in these circumstances. Here, Gaffney's injury occurred in response to something that went wrong in the training exercise, turning it into an emergency. In freeing the hose line from the obstruction, Gaffney put himself at risk of becoming lost and disoriented in the smoke-filled building. Importantly, Gaffney did not have the option of ending his participation in the exercise after it became an emergency.
¶ 68 If the General Assembly intended to limit an "emergency" only to those events representing an actual or real threat to the public, it would not have added the modifying language "reasonably believed" to the phrase. Further, the use of the word "emergency" in this context suggests an intent to cover dangerous situations arising in a firefighter's employment. It is the unforseen nature of emergencies in general that supports such a construction. Emergencies, particularly those involving fire or explosions, can arise in a number of unexpected places and firefighters are expected to respond to them. An emergency can arise during a training exercise, especially one involving a live fire.
¶ 69 In this case, Gaffney's belief that he was responding to an emergency during the training exercise was reasonable and falls within the purview of the Act. Accordingly, the trial court's judgment in favor of the defendants on the issue of section 10 eligibility must be reversed and the cause remanded to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion on the declaratory judgment count of Gaffney's complaint.
¶ 70 B. No. 110198, Brian J. Lemmenes
¶ 71 Lemmenes contends that the circumstances of his case amounted to an "emergency" because they required urgency and immediate action. He maintains that he is entitled to health coverage benefits under section 10(b) of the Act because his injury occurred in response to what he reasonably believed to be an emergency.
¶ 72 The defendants contend that this case does not fit within the meaning of an "emergency" because the situation was not urgent, it did not call for immediate action, and Lemmenes was not facing unforeseen circumstances. The defendants argue that Lemmenes was not responding to what he reasonably believed to be an emergency, as required to qualify for health coverage benefits under section 10(b).
¶ 73 In this case, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment on Lemmenes' declaratory judgment action. Summary judgment is appropriate when the pleadings, depositions, and admissions on file, along with any affidavits, show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. 735 ILCS 5/2-1005(c) (West 2006). By filing cross-motions for summary judgment, the parties agree that no factual issues exist and this case turns solely on legal issues subject to de novo review. Founders Insurance Co. v. Munoz, 237 Ill. 2d 424, 432 (2010).
¶ 74 Here, Lemmenes was required to participate in a training exercise simulating an actual supermarket fire. The firefighters were instructed to advance a hose line into an abandoned building following a predetermined path and to rescue a "downed firefighter." The firefighters' masks were "blacked out" to simulate live fire conditions, but there was no live fire during the exercise. The training exercise was timed with a stopwatch. If a firefighter's air supply ran out, he or she would stop participating and take off the mask.
¶ 75 Prior to the exercise, the firefighters were instructed to "respond as if it were an actual emergency" and that "there was a firefighter that was trapped inside of this building, *** he was running out of air, that his personal distress alarm was going off, and that [the firefighters] needed to locate him and rescue him or he would perish." The "downed firefighter" was not in any real danger, however, and the exercise was performed under "controlled conditions."
¶ 76 The firefighters arrived at the abandoned building in "full turnout gear" with the fire engine's emergency lights activated. During the exercise, Lemmenes injured his knee while "twisting and turning and pulling this individual trying to free him" from an unknown obstacle. After injuring his knee, Lemmenes removed his bunker pants and observed a large open wound. He then "went back and did more emergency training at this exercise."
¶ 77 The facts in this case do not establish any unforeseen circumstance involving imminent danger to a person or property requiring an urgent response. Lemmenes understood that he was participating in a training exercise despite the efforts to simulate an emergency situation and the orders to react as if it were an actual emergency. The firefighters were instructed to advance a hose line into the building along a predetermined path and were given specific instructions for performing the exercise. The training exercise was conducted under planned, "controlled conditions." No unexpected or unforeseen developments arose during this drill, unlike the situation in Gaffney where the hose line became entangled in an unknown object.
¶ 78 Further, the training exercise did not involve a live fire nor was there any smoke in the structure. Instead, the firefighters' masks were "blacked out" to simulate live fire conditions. No one was in imminent danger during the exercise, including the "downed firefighter."
¶ 79 The evidence in this case does not support a finding that Lemmenes was injured while making an urgent response to an unforeseen circumstance involving imminent danger to a person or property. Rather, he was injured during a training exercise that proceeded as planned without any unforeseen developments. The circumstances of this case do not satisfy the requirements of section 10(b) of the Act. The trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Lemmenes on his declaratory judgment claim and in denying the defendants' motion for summary judgment. We must, therefore, reverse the appellate court's judgment affirming the judgment of the trial court.
¶ 80 III. CONCLUSION
¶ 81 We conclude that the trial court erred in dismissing Gaffney's complaint for declaratory judgment and the appellate court erred in affirming that judgment. Accordingly, we reverse the circuit and appellate court judgments in Gaffney and remand the cause to the circuit court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion on Gaffney's complaint seeking a declaratory judgment. In Lemmenes, we reverse the appellate court's judgment.
¶ 82 No. 110012-Judgments reversed; cause remanded.
¶ 83 No. 110198-Appellate court judgment reversed.
¶ 84 JUSTICE GARMAN, concurring in part and dissenting in part:
¶ 85 The majority concludes that given the plain meaning of the word "emergency" in section 10(b) of the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act (820 ILCS 320/10(b) (West 2006)), plaintiff Michael Gaffney is entitled to continuing health coverage benefits for himself and his family while plaintiff Brian Lemmenes is not. In my opinion, the majority's interpretation of section 10(b) of the Act is not consistent with our responsibility to give effect to the intent of the legislature. In addition, the manner in which the majority applies its interpretation of the statute to the facts of the two claims obscures the distinction between an injury sustained in the line of duty and a line-of-duty injury occurring "as the result of the *** firefighter's response to what is reasonably believed to be an emergency." Id. As a result, the court's opinion does not provide clear guidance for future cases. Thus, although I agree with the result reached by the majority with respect to Lemmenes's claim, I dissent from the portion of the opinion interpreting section 10(b) and from the majority's conclusion regarding Gaffney's claim.
¶ 86 Statutory Interpretation
¶ 87 Section 10(a) of the Act provides that the employer of a full-time public safety employee who "suffers a catastrophic injury or is killed in the line of duty" must pay the entire health insurance premium for the employee, his or her spouse, and his or her dependent children. 820 ILCS 302/10(a) (West 2006). Not all catastrophic or fatal line-of-duty injuries, however, qualify for these additional benefits. Under section 10(b) of the Act:
"In order for the law enforcement, correctional or correctional probation officer, firefighter, spouse, or dependent children to be eligible for insurance coverage under this Act, the injury or death must have occurred as the result of the officer's response to fresh pursuit, the officer or firefighter's response to what is reasonably believed to be an emergency, an unlawful act perpetrated by another, or during the investigation of a criminal act. Nothing in this Section shall be construed to limit health insurance coverage or pension benefits for which the officer, firefighter, spouse, or dependent children may otherwise be eligible." 820 ILCS 320/10(b) (West 2006).
¶ 88 The operative language in the present case is the phrase "the firefighter's response to what is reasonably believed to be an emergency." The term "emergency" is not defined in the statute.
¶ 89 Relying on a dictionary definition, the majority holds that an "emergency" is an "unforeseen circumstance involving imminent danger to a person or property requiring an urgent response." Supra
¶ 64. Thus, according to the majority, for a firefighter to be entitled to the benefits at issue, his injury must have occurred "in response to" something he reasonably believed to be "an unforeseen circumstance involving imminent danger to a person or property requiring an urgent response." Supra ¶ 64.
¶ 90 In reaching this conclusion, the majority rejects the interpretation of the statutory term "emergency" that was adopted by the appellate court in DeRose v. City of Highland Park, 386 Ill. App. 3d 658, 661 (2008), and applied by the appellate court in the present case. In DeRose, the appellate court noted that three different dictionaries provided three similar, but not identical, definitions of the term. Id. The common denominator in all of the definitions was that an emergency is a situation that is "urgent" and that "calls for immediate action." The DeRose court also quoted the definition referenced by the majority, which contains the words "an unforeseen combination of circumstances," but did not adopt this language as part of its interpretation of the statute. Id.
¶ 91 The majority concludes that an "emergency," as that term is used in section 10(b), is a circumstance that "clearly requires an urgent and immediate response." Supra ¶ 61. I agree.
¶ 92 However, the majority then goes on to say that the "definition also indicates, however, that the urgency or immediate action must result from an unforeseen circumstance." Supra ¶ 61. In effect, the majority grafts the entire definition of "emergency" from one specific dictionary onto the statute, treating the words of Webster's Third New International Dictionary as if they were the words of the legislature. This mechanical approach to statutory interpretation treats the words chosen by the editors of a dictionary as if they were the words of the statute itself and creates a new statutory requirement that was not intended by the legislature-a requirement that may have far-reaching effects in future cases.
¶ 93 Nothing in section 10(b) suggests that a circumstance to which a firefighter is responding must have been "unforeseen" to qualify as an emergency. Indeed, the majority's creation of this requirement raises more questions than it answers. Exactly what circumstance must have been unforeseen-the overall situation to which the firefighter was responding or the particular cause of the injury to the firefighter? And whose perspective is examined-the injured firefighter, his supervisor, or the objective reasonable person? When is the fact of whether the circumstance was foreseen to be assessed-when the alarm sounds causing the fire department to respond or when the firefighter encounters the person or object that causes the injury? Further, if the statute is interpreted to require that the circumstance creating the emergency have been unforeseen by the injured firefighter, it not only penalizes the individual who did foresee danger but responded anyway but also rewards the individual who failed to see a foreseeable danger.
¶ 94 In my opinion, the appellate court in DeRose and in the present case properly interpreted the statutory term "emergency" as a circumstance requiring urgent and immediate action. The majority's requirement that the emergency circumstance must have been unforeseen is not essential to the legislature's intent. The statute was not intended to provide additional benefits to any firefighter who is accidentally injured on the job, but only to those whose injuries occurred as they were responding to a circumstance they reasonably believed to require urgent and immediate action. Requiring that the circumstance have been "unforeseen" could result in the denial of benefits to a firefighter whose injury or death occurred under circumstances of true emergency, but one that was foreseen, merely because this court unjustifiably created a judicially imposed requirement not intended by the legislature. As this court has said on numerous occasions, "[w]e may not add exceptions, limitations, or conditions to statutes in derogation of their plain meaning." Holly v. Montes, 231 Ill. 2d 153, 159 (2008). See also People ex rel. Department of Professional Regulation v. Manos, 202 Ill. 2d 563, 568 (2002); Lauer v. American Family Life Insurance Co., 199 Ill. 2d 384, 390 (2002).
¶ 95 In addition, although it is entirely appropriate for a court to rely on a dictionary definition to reveal the plain, ordinary, and popularly understood meaning of an undefined statutory term (People v. Perry, 224 Ill. 2d 312, 330 (2007)), a dictionary may contain more than one definition for the same term and different dictionaries may contain different, although similar, definitions. It is the responsibility of the court when utilizing a dictionary to choose that definition that most effectively conveys the intent of the legislature:
"Our primary objective is to ascertain and give effect to legislative intent, the surest and most reliable indicator of which is the statutory language itself, given its plain and ordinary meaning. [Citation.] In determining the plain meaning of statutory terms, we consider the statute in its entirety, keeping in mind the subject it addresses and the apparent intent of the legislature in enacting it. [Citation.] Where the language of the statute is clear and unambiguous, we must apply it as written, without resort to extrinsic aids to statutory construction." Id. at 323.
¶ 96 While reference to one particular dictionary definition of "emergency" may provide some insight into the plain and ordinary meaning of the word, it does not take into account the entire statute or the intent of the legislature. For example, the dictionary definition that the majority would graft onto the statute also requires that the circumstance involve imminent danger to a person or property, but it does not enlighten us as to what persons or whose property must be in danger. For this, we must look more closely at section 10(b) and the entire statutory scheme governing officers' and firefighters' benefits.
¶ 97 To qualify for the benefits provided by this statute, the injury or death of the officer or firefighter must be the result of one of four circumstances listed in section 10(b): (1) fresh pursuit, (2) the individual's response to what he reasonably believes to be an emergency, (3) an unlawful act perpetrated by another, or (4) investigation of a criminal act. If we are to give effect to the intent of the legislature, we must read the second of these four circumstances in a manner consistent with the other three, which describe situations encountered by police officers and firefighters in the course of their actual duties as they protect and serve the public.
¶ 98 An officer who is injured while driving a squad car on a training course while practicing techniques of fresh pursuit is not in fresh pursuit. An officer who is injured while training in techniques of subduing a suspect is not injured by the unlawful act of another when the individual playing the role of suspect resists arrest. An officer who is injured while engaging in a training exercise involving investigation of a staged crime scene is not injured while investigating a crime. No matter how realistic such training exercises may be, or how seriously the participants take their instructions to treat the training scenarios is if they are real, any injuries that occur do not come within the scope of section 10(b) because the participants are not actually involved in one of the enumerated circumstances. Similarly, firefighters participating in a training exercise do not actually believe they are responding to a circumstance that involves imminent danger to another person or to property.
¶ 99 Thus, when read in context of section 10(b) as a whole, what an officer or firefighter "reasonably believes to be an emergency" refers to a situation to which he is called upon to respond in the course of carrying out his professional duties. To be entitled to benefits under section 10(a), the firefighter must have been responding as a firefighter, not as a participant in a training exercise, to what he reasonably and actually believed to be an emergency in which there was imminent danger of harm to another person or to property. If his reasonable and actual belief turns out to have been incorrect, as in the case of a false alarm, he would still be entitled to section 10(a) benefits if he were injured while responding.
¶ 100 The larger context of the entire legislative scheme regarding firefighter's benefits supports this reading. A firefighter who is catastrophically injured is entitled to a line-of-duty disability pension under the Illinois Pension Code. 40 ILCS 5/4-110 (West 2006). In addition, he is entitled under the Insurance Code to maintain health insurance coverage for himself, his spouse, and his dependents under the prevailing group rate. 215 ILCS 5/367f (West 2006). Section 10(b) is designed to provide additional benefits to a limited subset of firefighters who are injured in the line of duty.
¶ 101 The definition adopted by the majority, however, would encompass nearly every line-of-duty injury so long as the circumstance that led to the injury was "unforeseen." In effect, the majority has equated an emergency within the meaning of section 10(b) with a mere accident. According to the same dictionary utilized by the majority, an accident is "an event or condition occurring by chance or arising from unknown or remote causes" or "an unforeseen unplanned event or condition." Webster's Third New International Dictionary 11 (1993). An accident is also a "sudden event or change occurring without intent or volition through carelessness, ignorance, or a combination of causes and producing an unfortunate result." Id.
The majority grafts this requirement onto the statutory language even though an unforeseen emergency does not necessarily present a greater risk to a firefighter than a foreseen emergency. The legislature made no distinction between unforeseen emergencies and foreseen emergencies. As a result, the additional benefits of section 10(a) should not be available in one circumstance but not the other.
¶ 102 Consider a workplace injury that occurs in the fire station. A piece of equipment falls and the firefighter leaps out of the way to avoid being hit, falling and fracturing his leg. He is responding to an unforeseen circumstance that involves imminent danger to himself and that requires the urgent response of a sudden movement to avoid injury. If the fracture is a career-ending injury, he would be entitled to section 10(a) benefits under the majority's rule. However, under my reading of the statute, this accident would not qualify as an emergency because he could not have reasonably and actually believed that his response as a professional firefighter was necessary to protect another person or property from imminent danger of harm from the falling equipment.
¶ 103 In contrast, firefighters could be called to stand by while a controlled burn of a wooded area is undertaken. The possibility that the flames could spread is foreseen by everyone involved. Yet, under the majority's rule, if a firefighter suffers a catastrophic injury responding to the spread of the flames outside the intended area, he would not be eligible for section 10(a) benefits because the circumstance was not unforeseen and, therefore, was not an emergency.
¶ 104 For these reasons, I dissent from the majority's interpretation of section 10(b), which will result in the granting of additional benefits to some injured firefighters and the denial of additional benefits to others, and, in both cases, will thwart the will of the legislature.
¶ 105 Application of the Rule to the Facts
¶ 106 Both Gaffney and Lemmenes were responding to circumstances they encountered during training exercises. Both were instructed to perform their duties during the exercises as if they were responding to true emergencies. By definition, both knew that there was no real emergency.
¶ 107 Lemmenes was injured when he tried to pull a "downed firefighter" from an "unknown obstacle" under circumstances that were created to "simulate" an emergency. Supra ¶¶ 75-77. Under the majority's rule that the circumstance creating the emergency must have been "unforeseen," Lemmenes is not entitled to additional benefits under section 10(b) of the Act because he "understood that he was participating in a training exercise" in which the participating firefighters were "instructed to advance a hose line into the building along a predetermined path and were given specific instructions for performing the exercise." Supra ¶ 77. Thus, the need to lift or move an unknown obstacle was not, according to the majority, unforeseen.
¶ 108 As for Gaffney, the majority states that "an unforeseen circumstance arose after the exercise began." Supra ¶ 65. Gaffney's progress was halted by the entanglement of his hose with a piece of furniture, which the majority states was "certainly an unforeseen circumstance." Supra ¶ 65.
¶ 109 Comparing the two cases, the majority concludes that "[n]o unexpected or unforeseen developments arose" during the Lemmenes drill, "unlike the situation in Gaffney where the hose line became entangled in an unknown object." Supra ¶ 77. According to the majority, the "unknown" piece of furniture that became entangled with Gaffney's hose line was an "unforeseen development"-even though it was placed in the structure, along the route of the hose line, by the designers of the exercise-but the "unknown obstacle" complicating the rescue of the downed firefighter in Lemmenes was not unforeseen. Yet on this requirement of the majority's test, the facts of Gaffney and Lemmenes are almost identical.
¶ 110 In my opinion, section 10(b) does not require that the emergency being responded to be unforeseen or unforeseeable. However, if such a requirement is to be applied, neither the entanglement of Gaffney's hose line nor Lemmenes's need to pull a downed firefighter to safety were unforeseen by either the trainers who designed the scenarios or the trainees, who were instructed that they were to enter a furnished structure and rescue anyone inside. These were precisely the types of occurrences that firefighters expect to encounter in a real fire and for which the training exercises were designed to prepare them.
¶ 111 Gaffney was undoubtedly aware that such situations could arise during the exercise. He argues, however, that he was "never advised as to the shape, location or identity of the various obstacles he would encounter," as if an effective training exercise would involve entirely predictable and expected circumstances. Gaffney and the majority overlook the fact that furniture and dummy "victims" are placed in training scenarios for the purpose of training firefighters to navigate through unfamiliar furnished structures and to rescue trapped individuals. In Gaffney's case, the fact that a hose could become tangled in a piece of furniture was just as foreseen as the obstacle encountered by Lemmenes.
¶ 112 The majority also states that Gaffney's "response to this event was also unforeseen." Supra ¶ 65. This adds an entirely new element to the test that the majority purports to adopt. Not only must the circumstance to which the firefighter is responding be unforeseen, the nature of his response must also be unforeseen. But why? What purpose of the statute is advanced by limiting an emergency to a situation in which the firefighter's response is unforeseen? And by whom? The majority does not say.
¶ 113 In any event, Gaffney's response to the entanglement of his hose line was not unforeseen. He responded to a condition of the training exercise precisely as he was trained to respond-he followed his hose line back to the obstruction. He then cleared the obstruction by moving a piece of heavy furniture.
¶ 114 Nor was Gaffney's lack of visibility unforeseen (supra ¶ 66), despite the majority's focus on this fact. Lack of visibility was part of the design of both training exercises, although one involved actual smoke produced by a live fire and one involved the simulation of smoke by blacking out the trainees' masks.
¶ 115 The majority also notes that Gaffney could have become lost or disoriented had he lost contact with the hose. But he did not become lost or disoriented. Nothing in the language of section 10(b) suggests that a circumstance is an emergency if it might have become dangerous under hypothetical facts.
¶ 116 In the end, the majority concludes that these "unforeseen conditions alleged by Gaffney involved imminent danger to a person or property requiring an urgent response." Supra ¶ 66. As stated above, I do not agree that section 10(b) requires that the emergency have been unforeseen or unforeseeable, but if this is a requirement of the statute, neither Lemmenes nor Gaffney meets this requirement.
¶ 117 Section 10(b) also requires that the injured firefighter have reasonably believed that he was responding to an emergency. In both of these cases, however, the firefighters were fully aware that they were participating in training exercises that required them to act as if they were true emergencies. An analogy to war games is helpful. In a war game, service members are instructed to treat the game as if it were a real battle or other military mission. In some training scenarios, live ammunition may be used. Nevertheless, the participants understand that they are not at war. Similarly, both Lemmenes and Gaffney understood that they were roleplaying and that no one's home or business was in danger of destruction by fire and no one inside either structure was in danger of death or injury if he or she could not escape.
¶ 118 As to the requirement of imminent danger to person or property, the majority states that because other firefighters were on the upper floor waiting for the arrival of Gaffney's hose, "there [was] a chance that a person may [have been] injured or even killed." Supra ¶ 67. Under the majority's own rule, however, the mere chance of injury is not sufficient; there must be imminent danger. Further, the record reveals that after he injured his shoulder, Gaffney turned and followed the hose line back and then climbed up to the third floor. When he reached the third floor, one of the officers inside the building noticed that he was in pain and having difficulty breathing. The officer immediately called a halt to the drill. This fact contradicts the majority's statement that "the crew was stranded on the stairwell to the third floor of the burning building with no visibility and no water to put out the fire," thus turning the training exercise into an emergency. Supra ¶ 66.
¶ 119 Although one can imagine circumstances that might turn a training exercise into an emergency, this is not such a case. No person and no property were in imminent danger of harm at the time Gaffney used his left arm to move a piece of furniture to free his tangled hose. Shortly thereafter, the entire exercise was terminated. Nothing in the record suggests that the other participants in the training exercise were ever in any danger or that they had any difficulty exiting the structure when the exercise was called off. In short, there was no imminent danger, merely the remote potential for danger arising from circumstances that never actually materialized.
¶ 120 The final requirement applied by the majority is that the unforeseen circumstance that places a person or property in danger must require an urgent response. This requirement is met, the majority finds, by the fact that "[a]ny fire, even one set in a training exercise, carries the potential for a life-threatening situation." Supra ¶ 67. In such circumstances, there is "a chance that a person may be injured or even killed." Supra ¶ 67. Gaffney qualifies for section 10(a) benefits, according to the majority, because of a "chance that a person may be injured or even killed in these circumstances." Supra ¶ 67. In Lemmenes's case, on the other hand, there was no live fire, only a simulated fire, and he faced no "real danger" because the exercise was being performed "under 'controlled conditions.' " Supra ¶ 75.
¶ 121 Even if I accept, for the sake of argument, that a training exercise could evolve into an emergency, the majority's application of its rule to the facts of the two cases creates a "live fire rule" under which virtually any serious injury sustained by a firefighter during a live fire training exercise, regardless of the cause, will qualify for benefits under section 10(b) because of the mere "potential" that the live fire could cause injury or death. This is surely not what the legislature intended when it enacted the statute.
¶ 122 I, therefore, dissent from the majority's conclusion regarding Gaffney's claim for additional benefits under section 10(a) of the Act.
¶ 123 Conclusion
¶ 124 In sum, I agree with the majority that there is no ambiguity in the statute and that plain meaning principles apply. However, the majority's plain meaning analysis is incomplete because it does not take into account the statute in its entirety and the clear legislative intent. In addition, the majority treats the dictionary definition as if it were the enacted statutory language without critical analysis to determine whether it is consistent with the statutory intent. I, therefore, dissent from the portion of the majority opinion interpreting the term "emergency" in section 10(b). In my opinion, section 10(b) grants additional benefits only when the firefighter is catastrophically injured or killed while responding in his professional capacity to a circumstance that he reasonably believes poses imminent danger to another person or property and that requires an urgent response.
¶ 125 I also respectfully dissent from the portion of the opinion applying the newly interpreted statute to the facts of Gaffney's case. Under the statute as I read it, both Gaffney and Lemmenes suffered accidental, career-ending, line-of-duty injuries, but neither occurrence resulted from a response to what the firefighter reasonably believed to be an emergency because neither was responding as a firefighter to a circumstance that placed another person or property in imminent danger. Not only does the majority reach the wrong result with regard to Gaffney's claim, in doing so, it creates a rule that would encompass all catastrophic injuries sustained during live-fire training.
¶ 126 Firefighters know all too well that not all emergencies are accidents. Arson is an emergency, not an accident. Similarly, as illustrated by the present cases, not all accidents are emergencies. Both Gaffney and Lemmenes suffered career-ending accidental injuries in the line of duty and are entitled to pension and other benefits as a result, in addition to our respect and gratitude for their service. They are not, however, eligible for the additional benefits provided by section 10(a) of the Act to those who are catastrophically injured or killed under certain limited circumstances listed in section 10(b).
¶ 127 JUSTICES THOMAS and KARMEIER join in this partial concurrence and partial dissent.
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