Norris: Assembly Passes Bill To Protect Volunteer Firefighters Against Cancer
Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,I-Lockport) helped pass legislation that would ensure volunteer firefighters have insurance coverage to treat cancer and related illnesses that could result from their service protecting the community. Norris is a sponsor of the measure that extends the Volunteer Firefighter Benefit Law, and has been a vocal advocate for the bill since taking office.
“I am so proud to represent more than two dozen volunteer fire companies in the 144th Assembly District. Not only do these heroes help protect our lives and property, but they save taxpayers millions of dollars annually. Our firefighters deserve our appreciation and thanks, and every bit of protection given to publicly-financed companies like those in New York City,” said Norris. “That’s why I have fought so hard to make sure the voice of Western New York’s fire companies has been heard here in Albany, and I am proud to sponsor and help deliver this measure so that the firefighters in our community will have better insurance coverage and healthier lives.”
Under current law, health and disability protections for volunteer firefighters are limited to $600 per month in disability benefits, which does not cover treatments for cancer or other serious illnesses volunteer firefighters may develop as the result of their service. While preventative training and equipment has improved the odds of protecting a volunteer firefighter, Norris believes the state should do everything in its power to assure the best treatment options are available for volunteer firefighters if they become ill as a result of serving and protecting the community.
There are over 10,000 volunteer fire companies across New York State that save taxpayers billions of dollars in expenses annually through their volunteer service. Norris said not only will the extension of the Volunteer Firefighters Benefit Law help better protect the life of volunteer firefighters and provide them and their families with greater peace of mind, but the measure should also help recruitment of new volunteers for fire companies struggling to meet the needs of their community.
Norris said, “I cannot say thank you enough to all the fire companies in our community. Not only do they protect our families, homes and businesses, but they also provide so many services to our community. For example, volunteer firefighters have been working around the clock for months in communities impacted by Lake Ontario flooding. While I am proud to be able to deliver this meaningful bill to help show our appreciation, my true pride comes from knowing I have the privilege to represent and know these fine and outstanding firefighters.”
To learn more about the state’s volunteer fire companies or about volunteering at a local company in the 144th Assembly District, please go to the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York’s recruitment website: www.fireinyou.org.