Friday, 23 July 2010 00:00
The Assembly Republican Regional Forums on Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Services is traveling the state to address the needs of volunteer first responders and encourage more citizens to donate their time to help keep their communities safe. On July 12, we traveled to East Meadow where I hosted a roundtable discussion at the East Meadow Fire Department. I heard testimony from volunteer firefighters, emergency responders, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York and the State Emergency Management Office about key challenges facing the industry on Long Island and statewide.
We specifically discussed how we could encourage citizens to heed the call of volunteer service by easing their training requirements. Given the high cost of living on Long Island, many potential volunteers have second jobs. This makes it especially difficult to attend the mandated training classes. One recommendation was to offer online courses, which would make it easier for volunteers to get the necessary training when their schedules permit it.
The Assembly Republican Conference and I will work to advance ideas that support first responders and encourage all New Yorkers to heed the call of volunteer service. Our legislative agenda includes initiatives that will provide volunteers with a personal income tax credit, greater tuition assistance, employment protection and access to cellular telephones that can be used during emergencies.
Volunteers are vital to our communities. As a legislative representative, I want to offer my help at the state level to make life easier for the men and women who protect us every day.
Assemblyman Tom McKevitt