By Assemblyman Will Barclay
Several local firefighters have been traveling throughout our communities and schools in conjunction with National Fire Prevention Month.
This month they’re out teaching young children about the basics of fire safety, hosting tours of fire trucks, and opening their fire departments to meet and greet the public.
They teach how smoke detectors save lives, how every family needs an exit plan in case of an emergency, and how it’s best not to leave food on the stove unsupervised.
The firefighters, many of whom volunteer, provide invaluable service and help save lives over and over again.
The National Fire Prevention Association estimates firefighters save taxpayers roughly $139 billion annually, the monetary value of the firefighter’s donated time.
All firefighters put their lives on the line to protect lives and property, aid families in danger, and get them to safety.
I’m also impressed with the collaboration between local departments.
The local fire departments often call on one another to work together, to more effectively manage larger fires to put them out quickly.
This collaboration is tremendous and many of them make it a point to maintain good working relationships with other departments to help the whole community.
They are heroes.
While they are the first ones to rush to a fire, they’re also the first ones to perform these small, often overlooked deeds of teaching fire prevention.
Teaching and reminding the community about fire prevention is perhaps the biggest tool in a fireman’s tool chest.
Part of those talks include raising awareness that every bedroom should have a smoke detector, which is state law.
The National Fire Protection Association has launched a new campaign this year called “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep: Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm.”
Time and again, smoke detectors save lives.
I was happy to vote in favor of legislation that makes smoke detectors more effective.
Starting in 2017, if the bill is signed into law, New York State vendors would be required to sell smoke alarms with non-removable, efficient batteries that lasts 10 years.
This legislation will prevent tragedies associated with smoke alarms having weak or dead batteries.
New Yorkers would not be penalized for using the old alarms; the bill simply regulates what can be sold in stores.
According to the Fireman’s Association of New York, the technology is already affordable and readily available.
You can purchase one for around $20.
There is also a relatively new program available for volunteer firefighters.
In New York state, volunteer firefighters are now eligible to receive tuition reimbursements through the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY).
I was pleased to support this program in the Assembly and hopefully, this will help more volunteers decide to join their local fire department.
The deadline for the fall semester was recently extended to Oct. 16.
If you are a volunteer firefighter and attending college, visit http://www.fasny.com/index.php/resources/fasny-help/ to apply or, email [email protected], Attn: John D’Alessandro, Deputy Volunteer Programs Coordinator, or call FASNY toll free at (855) 367-6933.
I’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our firefighters for all they do to help protect lives, property and prevent fires.
Your work is invaluable and I am grateful for your service to our communities in Oswego, Jefferson and Onondaga counties.
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office.
My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.
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