CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (WROC) – Dozens of firefighters and officials from across the state were in Canandaigua Saturday morning.
The hot topic: securing more money to keep the mission moving.
Held at the Ontario County Fire Training Center, the session gave an overview for the main legislative issues for volunteer first responders. They want Albany to allow fire departments to recover some of the costs associated with providing emergency medical services, and stay running.
Firefighter Frank Orbaker, President of the Northern Central Volunteer Fireman’s Association, says without proper funds, EMS services may become too expensive to provide. He gave one example of nine total pieces of legislation they’re pushing for.
“We want to get fire departments to be able to charge for their services for the ambulance, but yet, that should lower their tax dollar for their budgets at the townships,” Orbaker said.
Orbaker said they are also fighting for state cancer coverage for first responders.
“The stuff that’s burning today is a lot worse than what it was in the past and it’s causing cancer,” Orbaker said.
Supporting the first responders today were representatives from across New York. Assemblymen Mark Johns (R-135th District) and Brain Manktelow (R-130th District), say volunteer firefighters save the state billions of dollars every year. They’re owned a certain amount of gratitude.
“Just think of how high your property taxes would be if it weren’t for these men and women volunteering to keep you safe,” says Johns.
“These individuals do great things as volunteers and we just really need them back here,” says Manktelow.
Orbaker said the other legislation they’re fighting for involve safety inspections of schools, and disability benefits. He says some of this has been held up for 30 years in Albany.
“We’re finally getting them to listen, but we’re hoping its not too late,” Orbaker said.