Volunteer Firefighter Legislation Becomes Law

A Legislative Column from Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (R,C,I-Black River)
November 3, 2017

Serving as a firefighter is one of the most dangerous jobs one can imagine. To run into a burning building takes someone with extreme bravery. These individuals are some of the most respected and cherished public servants in any city, town or village, and are heroes to their respective communities. However, in the smaller towns and villages across this state, budgets may not allow for a full-time fire service, and the residents of these communities must rely on volunteers. These volunteers are every bit as brave as their full-time counterparts and for this reason should be looked after as such.

Recently, the governor signed legislation which I cosponsored to grant increased coverage to volunteer firefighters who were afflicted with cancer during to their volunteer service. The “New York State Volunteer Firefighter Gap Coverage Cancer Disability Benefits Act” will enhance coverage for these individuals who develop certain forms of cancer, and allow much-needed support to them and their families in their battle against cancer.

This legislation was much-needed to show the Legislature’s support for the individuals of this state who risk their lives in service to their communities. I am proud to have been a part of moving this act through the Legislature and making it a reality for families in New York.

Volunteer firefighters are now eligible for payments of up to $50,000 with lump sums and monthly payouts dependent upon the diagnosis of certain illnesses. To find the particulars of this legislation, visit http://nyassembly.gov/leg/ and type 711 in the search box.

New York recognizes the importance of volunteer firefighters across this state and I am committed to helping these individuals and their families in the battle against the side effects incurred from their honorable and heroic service.

I want to know what you think about this or any other legislative matter. Please contact me by emailing blankenbushk@nyassembly.gov or by calling my office at 315-493-3909