Harckham Bill Helping to Guarantee Health Benefits for Volunteer Firefighters Passes in Senate
The New York State Senate unanimously passed legislation this week sponsored by State Senator Pete Harckham that will help expand health benefits for volunteer firefighters. The legislation, when approved by the Assembly and enacted by the governor, will make permanent the long-standing law covering disability determinations for volunteer firefighters due to certain lung disabilities.
“Volunteer firefighters statewide often incur major diseases and ailments in the course of protecting our residents and businesses, so we must reciprocate and safeguard the health of these brave first responders whenever possible,” said Harckham. “This bill will eliminate a sunset clause for lung care while streamlining access to much deserved health benefits.”
Volunteer firefighters provide an invaluable service to New York State and our individual communities. Accordingly, it simply makes sense to prevent unnecessary worry on the part of volunteer firefighters and their families as to whether or not they will receive their benefits.
Harckham’s bill (S.1176) regarding firefighters with lung maladies will amend a 2006 law that grants important lung health care benefits, yet needs to be renewed through legislative approval and enacted every two years. Similar health benefits for full-time firefighters, though, do not need to go through the biannual approval process—even though career and volunteer firefighters are exposed to the same risks.
The risks are, indeed, significant. Lung disabilities for firefighters exceed those experienced by the average adult population in the U.S. In the line of duty, firefighters are exposed to gases, toxins and other substances that have damaging short- and long-term effects on the respiratory system. Some of the toxic gases and respiratory tract irritants that firefighters are at risk of inhaling include sulfur dioxide, hydrogen chloride, phosgene, nitrous oxides, aldehydes and particulate matter.
The New York State Senate passed a similar bill introduced by Harckham last year, but the State Assembly did not approve the legislation. When enacted, the legislation will benefit over 80,000 volunteer firefighters and their families across New York.
“We would like to thank Senator Harckham for his hard work in getting this important piece of legislation again passed in the State Senate,” said Edward Tase, Jr., president of the Firefighters Association of the State of New York (FASNY). “New York’s volunteer firefighters are exposed to dangerous chemicals while fighting fires that may cause lasting lung damage. FASNY wholeheartedly supports this legislation, which will take this long standing benefit and make it permanent, further strengthening this critical safety net for our volunteer firefighters. We are ready to work with the Assembly and we urge them to follow suit and pass this in their house.”
Lets Change It Back To The Tappan Zee Bridge
“Youth: Invest In Your Future”
Last year our Youth Bureau trained and employed more than 250 individuals ages 14 to
20 years of age who earned over 35,000 hours of priceless career experience.
Our pre-employment training, T.E.E.N. Works (Teen Employment Education Network),
is an interactive workforce training experience that helps participants develop and
practice essential workplace competencies such as communication and interpersonal
skills, critical thinking capabilities, conflict resolution, and workplace ethics. Upon
successful completion of the program, young people may be placed with one of our job
Our Teen Employment Education Network celebrated 30 youth graduates last year in
their 4-week pre-employment summer training program.
T.E.E.N Works will be held at Rockland Community College from July 10 to August 3.
For more information please call (845) 364-2929.
For Employers interested in becoming a Job Site, please call Olivia Heller, YEP
Coordinator at (845) 364-2933.
Let’s not forget, our Rockland Conservation and Service Corps (RCSC). The RCSC
facilitates a full-time, outdoor-based, conservation-oriented service program for young
adults, ages 18-25 who are interested in environmental issues. Corps members spend
350-hours improving the community’s parks, open spaces, and water bodies, while
receiving a $2,400 living stipend and an $1,342.86 Education Award.
Program starts the end of May and concludes the middle of August. Through this
program, Corps Members have the unique opportunity to learn in depth conservation
skills side-by-side with working professionals.
Last year our corps members contributed over 8,000 hours to environmental and
conservation service. If you know someone is interested call 845-364-2932 or send us
an e-mail: [email protected]