Owen H. Johnson

June 12, 2012

Legislation Also Passed that Allows Volunteer Firefighters to be Absent from Work During States of Emergency

    The New York State Senate today passed a bill (S.7458), sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos (R, Rockville Centre) that would ensure the names of firefighters who are killed while performing services in the line of duty be included on the New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial. 

    “Our firefighters put their lives on the line each and every time they respond to a distress call,” Senator Skelos said.  “They all deserve our respect, and those that give their lives in the service of others while in the line of duty deserve to be included in a lasting memorial such as the New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial.”

    The Fallen Firefighters Memorial recognizes those firefighters from throughout the state who made the ultimate sacrifice for their community.  The Memorial hosts an annual ceremony that draws firefighters from throughout New York and serves as an occasion for remembrance and healing.

    Paul Brady, a six-year veteran of the Malverne Fire Department on Long Island, died while engaged in line of duty activity at the time of his death, which includes testing fire equipment, fire alarms and water supply systems.  His name is included in the United States Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Maryland, but is not yet included on the state Fallen Firefighters Memorial.  This bill would allow Firefighter Brady’s name to be inscribed on the Memorial. 

The Senate also passed a bill (S.6368A), sponsored by Senator Mark Grisanti (R, North Buffalo), that would allow members of volunteer fire departments and volunteer ambulance squads to take an authorized absence from work when they respond to a state of emergency.

     “Our volunteer firefighters and ambulance personnel always respond when called to help protect us, our families and our communities,” Senator Grisanti said.  “We need to be there for them and protect their jobs. “This bill would allow members of volunteer fire and ambulance squads to take authorized leaves of absence from work when they respond to a state of emergency.”

This legislation will prevent employers from charging volunteers with vacation, sick leave or other excused absences when there is a state of emergency. 

“By securing the jobs of these volunteers, no volunteer should hesitate to perform the duties they are trained to do, said Senator Grisanti.  The employee and employer will now work together for the safety and protection of our community.”

Since 1954, the state of New York has asked FEMA to declare almost 60 major disaster declarations for everything from snowstorms to earthquakes to ice storms. In 2011, New York was hit by Tropical Storm Lee, Hurricane Irene, flooding, tornadoes, snowstorms, and straight-line winds.

    The bills have been sent to the Assembly.