Protecting Those Who Protect Us

May 21, 2009

Yesterday, the New York State Senate passed legislation that will allow--among other things--volunteer firefighters to drive firetrucks during this coming weekend's Memorial Day festivities without fear of legal liability.

Volunteer firefighters in New York have long faced a significant legal liability when taking on their duties to the community. While firefighters responding to emergency calls were not required to have a Commercial Driver's License (CDL), they were still open to legal liability in other scenarios such as driving the truck back to the firehouse after an emergency, participating in a parade, taking part in training drills, etc.

Senator Brian X. Foley (3rd District) sponsored legislation (S1624-C) to close this loophole, which for many years has put New York's firefighters in legal jeopardy. With the passage of this legislation--which will likely be signed by the Governor this week-- firefighters can fulfill their duties with no liability. Senator Foley expressed his deep appreciation for the firefighters' work after the bill passed:
“Our volunteer firefighters are heroes and deserve to be treated as such. I am proud to sponsor legislation that will protect our firefighters and allow them to serve their communities without being exposed to legal liability.”

Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith also noted the timely passage of the bill:

“As Memorial Day approaches, the safety of individuals across the state is our greatest concern. It is difficult to convey my gratitude to these courageous firefighters, and I am thrilled that going forward we will be providing them with an increased level of protection.”

For more information, read the press release from Senator Brian X. Foley here and from Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith here.