(Long Island, NY) In the last two years, 600 of the state’s 1,800 volunteer fire departments were deployed to other parts of the state to assist during a declared disaster such as Super Storm Sandy. With more than 80% of New York State’s geography covered by volunteers, we need to do all we can to provide them with the protection they need to do the job. The fact that Governor Cuomo vetoed two pieces of legislation that would protect first responders is very disappointing, noted Assemblyman Hennessey.
The first piece of legislation would ensure that first responders who are injured in the line of duty are cared for and have complete medical coverage (A.400).
While there are laws protecting volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers, there are instances in which first responders are, in fact, denied coverage if they are injured in the line of duty. One instance is when a volunteer is providing emergency services outside of his regular jurisdiction before an “office in command” arrives on the scene.
The second piece of legislation would provide an authorized leave of absence from a place of employment for volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers who respond to a declared state of emergency (A.4009).
This law would ensure that our volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers do not lose their fulltime jobs because they missed work while performing volunteer duties during an emergency.
“Our volunteers put their lives on the line every time they respond to a call. They should not have to worry that their job is still there for them when they return. I will continue to fight for our volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers. They are there for us when we need them and I consider it to be a moral obligation to be there for them,” said Assemblyman Hennessey.