Senator Pam Helming announced that the New York State Senate unanimously passed a bill that she sponsored to promote youth involvement in local fire departments.
The measure would create youth programs that facilitate a learning experience for our young adults interested in the firefighting field.
“Our local firefighters do an outstanding job of serving and protecting our communities in times of emergency and crisis. The men and women who work in firefighting roles set an exceptional example for our young people not only in this capacity but also in their community involvement in other venues. As a result, our young people often look up to our firefighters and feel a desire to follow in their footsteps. Youth programs offer a fantastic way for our young people to learn more about firefighting,” she explained. “By sponsoring this bill, my intent is to allow our interested young adults the opportunity to observe in person and up close real-life situations. This bill also gives our volunteer fire departments a tool to recruit new members at a time when they are looking for ways to grow their volunteer base. Safety and security must be at the forefront in creating these programs, but fire departments should be allowed to establish these programs to raise up the next generation of community protectors. I thank my Senate colleagues for supporting this legislation, and I thank Assemblyman Bob Oaks for his leadership in sponsoring this measure in the Assembly.”
Current laws prohibit student volunteers from observing an active emergency scene. This legislation would allow youth program participants to observe an active emergency scene under stipulations that will be regulated by the chief. These stipulations would include designating safe areas for volunteers to observe while still allowing for a learning experience.
“Youth service programs are vital to the future success of New York’s storied volunteer fire service and to the continued safety of all New Yorkers. This legislation will help to promote youth programs across the state and provide a framework under which future firefighters can gain safe, valuable exposure to the fire service. This experience is critical in developing future firefighters. FASNY is grateful to Senator Helming and her colleagues in the State Senate for passing this legislation, and thanks to Assemblyman Oaks for sponsoring the bill in the Assembly. We urge the Assembly to pass this legislation and to send it to the Governor’s desk for signature,” Firemen’s Association President Ken Pienkowski said.