An assemblyman and a candidate for New York State Senate each made calls for benefits for first responders during the COVID-19 health pandemic, considering their heightened exposure to the virus in their services.
Alexis Weik, running for state Senate, disseminated a press release on April 27 calling for Line of Duty benefits for police officers and firefighters who die or are injured due to COVID-19.
“Considering that law enforcement and firefighters are essential and unable to self-isolate during these times, they’re at risk every day of exposure to coronavirus,” the press release reads.
Weik stated that benefits often are expanded during times of crisis and thus is requesting immediate action.
“Because of the easy spread of coronavirus, the health and well-being of our law enforcement and firefighters are in danger like never before,” said Weik. “While most of us are self-isolating, these local heroes are essential and prone to exposure every time they leave the house. If they are struck with coronavirus, it almost certainly happened while serving our communities.”
Assemblyman Joe DeStefano disseminated a press release alongside the Minority Conference relevant to this action on May 1, urging for financial relief to volunteer firefighters and EMS workers across the state.
“Our firefighters and EMS workers continue to work the front lines every single day, putting their lives at risk. While they continue to respond to our calls of need, their revenue is draining,” said DeStefano. “The last thing they should have to worry about during these difficult times is finances. Our firefighters and EMS workers protect us; it’s time we do our jobs and protect them.”
The press release notes that the Minority Conference will also be introducing legislation to create the New York State Volunteer Fire Protection Emergency Reimbursement Account in order to reimburse volunteer fire companies, districts, departments and EMS for costs associated with purchasing personal protective equipment and for lost revenues. Additionally, the conference will be seeking ways to ensure that those serving are eligible for recovery loans and grants.