Legislation under consideration in Albany to provide expanded medical benefits and wage replacement for volunteer firefighters should be fully supported without the measures suggested by the writer of the April 5 letter “Caveats to bill for volunteer firefighters.”
To address the writer’s first concern, fire departments do require members to undergo medical screenings annually. Second, to exclude exterior firefighters from the bill would be wrong.
Many of those now classified as exterior firefighters have served for many years as active interior firefighters. They have earned this protection should they develop cancer.
Legislatively, we should end once and for all the differentiation between professional and volunteer firefighters. All first responders assume significant risk when they respond to any alarm. They and their families deserve equal protection.
John E. Brooks, Seaford
Editor’s note: The writer is a former Seaford Fire Department chief and former member of the Medford and Lindenhurst fire departments, with more than 45 years of service.