SENATE PASSES BILL GIVING VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS ACCESS TO CRITICAL HEALTH BENEFITS

Joe Robach and the New York State Senate passed legislation to extend critical benefits to volunteer firefighters as they risk their health and safety to protect others. The bill S3991, sponsored by amends the Volunteer Firefighters’ Benefit Law to provide heightened levels of protections for firefighters that contract certain cancer-related diseases while serving as volunteers.

Joe Robach, 56th Senate District, said, “Volunteer firefighters fight the same fires as paid firefighters and they should have the same protections in law.”

This bill would provide presumptive cancer coverage to the more than 100,000 volunteer firefighters in New York. An increased number of firefighters are being diagnosed with cancer and recent medical studies have concluded that they are at a significantly higher risk for many types of cancer than the general population. This is due to the high levels of carcinogens and other toxins found in burning buildings and the other hazardous environments that firefighters routinely work in.

The bill will be sent to the Assembly.

In addition to this measure, the Senate was also able to recently secure $250,000 as part of the enacted 2016-17 State Budget to support the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters. This funding will help increase the number of volunteer firefighters through promotional materials, public service announcements, and other tools that highlight the importance of promoting public safety and protecting local communities.  For more information, contact the Senate office of Joe Robach.