Providing Support to Volunteer Firefighters


Despite it’s passing in the State Senate, the New York Conference of Mayors recently opposed the Volunteer Firefighter’s Benefit Bill, calling it an unfunded mandate.

Brian McQueen, The Former Fire Chief for the Whitesboro Fire Department says,
“But what they failed to realize is that our career firefighters have this bill right now. So any city that is covered by career fire department services is already paying for it through career fire services.”

McQueen adds that this is a simple fairness bill, and that no matter what the title, brave men and women run into the same dangerous fires on a daily basis. And the exposure to both gas and chemicals can cause substantial damage.

“Never did I realize that on September 24, 2013 I was going to be diagnosed with cancer. And never did I realize that I would be sitting across from five nationally recognized oncologists in New York City, was that one oncologist was to tell me that there’s a great chance that i received this cancer, this Non-Hodgkins lymphoma, was from being a firefighter.

But education and training is what McQueen says is the tool that can help prevent future illnesses.

“We have a mandatory policy now that after every structure fire, our gear has to be washed. Whether it’s a vehicle fire, structure fire, any type of fire that’s going to contaminate our gear. It took us a while that you have to clean your gear, yeah you gotta make sure it’s clean, but people realize, that what I went through or what some other firefighters are going through, no matter where it is in New York State, is something that they don’t want to go through themselves.”

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