ALBANY, N.Y. (NEXSTAR) – A bill in the New York State legislature aims to help volunteer first responders out with their bills.
EMTs and firefighters often put themselves in dangerous situations to keep others safe.
“I love comforting people. I love being there for people, saving people. I feel like it’s what I’m meant to do,” Emily Evans, volunteer firefighter & EMT, said.
Evans is a volunteer firefighter and EMT in Coxsackie. She’s supporting new legislation that would provide state income tax exemptions to people like herself.
“I am volunteering at the moment but eventually I will be getting an EMT job and I really want to get all the experience I can to be a paramedic and just be the best I can be.”
In order to qualify volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers would need to have a year of service completed, finished all training courses required by New York State, have their county certification and been present for more than 55 percent of annual calls.
Assemblyman Chris Tague (District 102) hopes the legislation will help with retention.
“In Upstate New York, they are struggling to cover all of their shifts and make sure they have staff when they need them.”
Supporters of the bill also hope it will attract younger volunteers.
“It’s imperative that to protect the public safety we have to bring in new and younger firefighters,” John D’Alessandro, FASNY Secretary, said.
The legislation has been referred to the ways and means committee.
Assemblyman Tague says volunteer first responders save the state $3.8 billion every year.