Friend Asking for Relief for Firefighters and EMS Fighting Covid-19

May 1, 2020

Assemblyman Christopher S. Friend (R,C,I-Big Flats), along with his Assembly Minority colleagues, signed a letter to the president and the New York State congressional delegation asking them to include volunteer firefighters and emergency medical service (EMS) personnel in the next round of federal aid relief. Volunteer firefighters and EMS have been severely impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic, namely by the expense of keeping up with personal protective equipment (PPE) costs and the loss of wages at their normal jobs due to exposure to COVID-19 in the course of their volunteer work.

“Our volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel have been on the front lines of this battle against COVID-19 and I know our communities are so thankful for their work. These men and women are not only sacrificing their time, but their own safety and health, as well as their financial wellbeing,” said Friend. “Volunteer firefighters and EMS have put in a lot of their own hard-earned money to keep up with PPE costs and others have had to lose time at work because of exposure to the coronavirus. We encourage federal officials to not forget those who always say yes when their communities are in need.”

According to the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY), the volunteer system of fire departments saves taxpayers more than $3 billion annually. There are 900 fire districts served by roughly 110,000 volunteer firefighters. The legislators are also encouraging a recovery loan program to be introduced to help volunteer departments, as usual efforts to fundraise are not possible because of social distancing.