Palmesano and Assembly Minority Conference Call for Federal and State Assistance to Support Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Medical Service Workers

Lawmakers send letter to President Trump and Congress outlining recommendations to help support volunteer emergency workers during coronavirus crisis.
May 5, 2020

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) and his Assembly Minority colleagues are calling for federal assistance to reimburse local governments for needed PPE purchased for volunteer emergency medical service (EMS) workers and volunteer firefighters.

They’re also seeking federal funding to cover lost wages for emergency volunteers forced to quarantine due to potential exposure to COVID-19.

The lawmakers are also sponsoring a bill which would create the New York State Volunteer Fire Protection Emergency Reimbursement Account, a state fund that would reimburse volunteer fire companies, districts, departments and EMS for COVID-19 expenses.

“Volunteer emergency service workers are the backbone of our rural communities. They have our backs no matter how dangerous the circumstances. Protecting them must be a bipartisan priority in Albany and Washington. We can’t ask them to continue their selfless service without providing them with the resources they need to protect themselves and their families,” said Palmesano.

Palmesano joined his colleagues in sending a letter last week to President Trump, Sen. Schumer and the New York state congressional delegation urging federal action.

“Many volunteer emergency districts and volunteer fire companies host fundraisers to help balance their budgets. Obviously, they have been unable to host such gatherings. Even though our state revenues are strained, providing help for our volunteer emergency service workers must remain a priority. We also need the federal government to step in and provide additional assistance,” said Palmesano.

Additionally, Palmesano is encouraging the federal government to ensure volunteer fire departments are eligible for disaster relief programs, including loans and grants.

The Assemblyman’s letter is attached.