Senate Democratic Majority To Support Local Firefighters and Communities

Albany, NY- The Senate Democratic Majority will pass legislation today that will support local firefighters and fire stations across New York. The bill package being passed by the Senate Majority authorizes firefighters outside of New York City to possess and administer epinephrine, eases access to volunteer firefighter enhanced cancer disability benefits, reduces PFAS chemicals in firefighting activities, and increases the safety of newly constructed homes.

“Firefighters risk their lives by rushing into harm’s way to rescue neighbors from danger and buildings from destruction,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “These brave men and women have stepped up to serve their community, and as lawmakers it is our responsibility to give them the support they have earned. I applaud the bill sponsors for advancing this important legislation, and thank my Senate Democratic Majority colleagues for supporting these bills and our state’s firefighters.”

The package of legislation brings advanced by the Senate Majority includes:

Possess and Administer Epinephrine: This bill, S.3247-A, sponsored by Senator Julia Salazar, will authorize firefighters and law enforcement officers outside of New York City to possess and administer epinephrine.

Access to Enhanced Cancer Disability Benefits: This bill, S.4173, sponsored by Senator Jim Gaughran, will provide clarification on additional information and proof that can be submitted to determine eligibility for volunteer firefighter enhanced cancer disability benefits.

 Reduces PFAS in Firefighting: This bill, S.439, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman, will reduce the use of PFAS chemicals in firefighting activities.

In-Home Fire Sprinkler System: This bill, S.1645-B, sponsored by Senator John Brooks, will require homeowners to be provided a cost estimate for installation of a fire sprinkler system when purchasing a newly constructed home.

Bill Sponsor, Senator John Brooks said, “Understanding the necessity and cost of protecting your family is an essential component in the safety of your home. Sprinkler systems are very effective in both containing a fire before it spreads and reducing the overall damage that can result. As a lifelong firefighter, I have seen the difference that installed sprinklers can create in regards to damage control and loss of life. This bill will provide prospective homeowners who are planning new construction with a cost estimate for the installation of a fire sprinkler system as a means to encourage additional fire safety in their home.”

Bill Sponsor, Senator Jim Gaughran said, “Volunteer firefighters who contract cancer in the line of duty deserve full benefits and health care protections. If their department is unable to verify the firefighters membership eligibility through no fault by the firefighter, we must ensure these brave first responders are still provided comprehensive coverage. This bill will close loopholes which have inadvertently excluded volunteer firefighters from the coverage they're entitled to.”

Bill Sponsor, Senator Brad Hoylman said, “As we’ve seen in Newburgh, PFAS chemicals linked to cancer and other diseases are too dangerous to allow in firefighting foam because it easily seeps into lakes, rivers and groundwater, as well as endangers the health of our firefighters. I’m grateful to Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and my Senate colleagues for moving my legislation to enact a statewide ban on PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam (S439/A445). Without this ban, PFAS chemicals will continue to pollute drinking water near airports, air bases and firehouses where foam is commonly used and stored.”

Bill Sponsor, Senator Julia Salazar said, “This is important legislation that will expand the capacity of first responders and, as a result, save lives. By enabling police officers and fire fighters to administer critical epinephrine injections in emergencies, we reinforce their ability to keep our communities safe.”