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Firemen’s Association of the State of New York

Volunteer firefighters play an important role in their communities. Although volunteer firefighters receive no meaningful benefits, these brave men and women continue to provide necessary emergency services to residents in their community. In recent years, a series of national studies have linked an increase in cancer to interior rated firefighters. Over the years FASNY has become aware of more of their members who have been diagnosed with cancer as well as the related costs associated with treatment. In many instances, the financial hardships associated with treatment became the biggest concern for FASNY members and their families. It is with this as the backdrop that FASNY sought to pass legislation designed to financially protect those volunteer firefighters who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Although the legislation had been stalled for over a decade, ASA Government Affairs immediately worked on a targeted advocacy strategy in each house, creating a bipartisan coalition of legislators to co-sponsor the bill and create momentum. ASA also created a coalition amongst the fire service by gaining the support of the New York State Fire Chiefs and the New York State Fire Districts. This two-pronged and aggressive outreach, along with the support of our co-sponsors Aileen Gunther and Senator Joseph Griffo, allowed ASA to force substantive discussions with the localities to seek a legislative solution to the bill. In previous attempts to pass the legislation, the localities strongly had opposed the bill due to cost concerns. In 2017 the bill passed both houses after more than a decade of inactivity. The new bill, crafted by ASA, provides for a lump sum payment of $25,000 to a volunteer diagnosed with cancer as well as the opportunity to receive $1500 a month in disability benefits for a volunteer diagnosed with cancer. 

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