Assemblyman Santabarbara Votes to Ensure Injured Emergency Responders are Protected

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam) announced legislation he sponsored to provide coverage to volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers when they are injured in the line of duty – providing services in an area outside of their jurisdiction – passed the Assembly this week (A.8991).

“Our volunteer emergency responders put themselves in harm’s way to safeguard our families and communities. It’s our obligation to make sure these everyday heroes receive the coverage they deserve for their dedicated service if they are injured while protecting us,” said Assemblyman Santabarbara.

Currently, volunteer emergency responders are protected under the Volunteer Firefighters’ Benefit Law (VFBL) and the Volunteer Ambulance Workers’ Benefit Law (VAWBL). However, coverage is not provided in some instances, even if the volunteer is injured in the line of duty. For example, if a volunteer is injured while providing emergency services in an area outside of their normal jurisdiction before an officer in command arrives at the accident scene, coverage can be denied. The legislation would allow local governments and fire companies to authorize coverage for volunteers who respond under such circumstances.

According to the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY), the number of volunteer firefighters serving in New York has decreased by approximately 20,000 over the past 15 years. Legislation that helps the brave men and women who protect our families would ensure that these vital positions remain filled, Assemblyman Santabarbara noted.

Earlier this month, Assemblyman Santabarbara also sponsored a resolution proclaiming May 19-23, 2014, as Volunteer Firefighter and EMS Week in New York (K.1210).