Big firefighters' meeting in Cornwall

Sixteen counties to send representatives to talk about education and legislation

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— The Firemen's Association of the State of New York (FASNY), the Hudson Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association (HVVFA), plus fire chiefs, volunteer firefighters and other volunteer first responders will participate in an emergency services education and legislative meeting at 10 a.m., Saturday, April 5, at the Highland Engine Company, Cornwall.

Leadership representatives of FASNY and HVVFA and volunteer fire departments and ambulance services as well as elected officials are expected to participate.

The event is one in a series of educational meetings relating to legislation affecting the volunteer fire service and its approximately 90,000-strong statewide membership. As the number of New Yorkers that serve in this volunteer capacity outnumber some of the largest unions in the state, the concerns to be addressed have a direct impact on a large swath of the state's residents, as well as the communities and neighbors they serve.

Among the areas of concern are job protection, to protect volunteers from losing their jobs after responding during a declared state of emergency; first-responder seat-belt requirements; and the allowing of volunteer emergency medical service units to bill for ambulance services.

The Hudson Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association represents the counties of Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Sullivan, Ulster, Warren, Washington and Westchester.

Since 2008, when FASNY started the Legislative Outreach Program, more than 70 meetings have been conducted in various regions throughout the state in coordination with county and sectional associations. These meetings, designed to provide information on the FASNY agenda and to address important legislative matters have been attended by more than 3,900 FASNY members and over 240 state legislators. The primary focus of the program continues to be educational meetings relating to legislation affecting the volunteer fire service. The meetings, held from January through April, usually last anywhere from 60-120 minutes and will cover the FASNY legislative agenda as well as other issues of interest.

Participants will discuss the needs of the fire service and pending legislation. Additional information can be found at: fasny.com/pdfs/2014Scorecard.pdf.

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