Contact: Mike Fraser, office: (518) 455-3751/cell: (518) 859-8518
New York's volunteer firefighters make tremendous sacrifices for their communities. They are selfless men and women who provide necessary services for little more than pride and the satisfaction of knowing they are making our communities safer. As elected officials, we have a responsibility to protect our volunteer firefighters and watch their backs the same way they watch ours.
ASSEMBLY SHOULD EXPAND VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS' BENEFITS LAW
Recently, I co-sponsored a bill (A.00711) to expand the Volunteer Firefighters' Benefits Law (VFBL). This legislation would cover a variety of cancers, including the digestive, prostate, neurological, reproductive and lymphatic systems. These illnesses are already covered for paid firefighters. Volunteer firefighters are subject to the same health risks as career firefighters, and deserve the same protections.
It only makes sense that we provide all firefighters a benefits package in line with the risks and realities associated with the job. It is necessary to ensure our state maintains the level of fire mitigation it needs, and, quite frankly, it is the right thing to do. The state Senate passed the VFBL expansion three times, yet the Assembly has let it repeatedly linger in committee. I urge the Assembly Majority to immediately take up this important protection.
THINK ABOUT HOW YOU CAN PLAY A ROLE
Each year, volunteer fire departments make a push to grow their ranks in late April. RecruitNY is a statewide initiative aimed at recruiting, and has helped bring in tens of thousands of new volunteers since its inception. This weekend, fire departments across New York will open their doors to engage with the communities they serve and highlight all they do for those they protect. Recruitment resources for volunteer fire departments can be found at http://www.recruitny.org/resources/.
In honor of New York's proud tradition of volunteer firefighting, more than 450 departments across the state are participating in RecruitNY 2017. With each new recruit, our state and our communities become safer. I encourage those interested to stop by your local fire department and speak with these local heroes and consider how you can play a role. And, if firefighting isn't for you, consider stopping by to say "hello" and "thank you."
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.