Washington D.C. - On Peace Officers Memorial Day, U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced the Fire Police Fairness Act, bipartisan legislation to extend public safety officer death benefits to fire police. Fire police officers provide unique and varying emergency response services in several states, including Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Because there is no uniform national designation for fire police, many of these public servants face additional hurdles in accessing benefits that other public safety officers receive. Companion legislation is led in the House of Representative by U.S. Representatives Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) and Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-Pa.).
"Fire police ensure that firefighters, police, and medics are able to respond to emergencies unimpeded and also play a critical role in supporting community events," said Senator Toomey. "We should provide fire police the same benefits we provide to other first responders who are killed in the line of duty."
"Fire police officers injured in the line of duty deserve access to the same benefits afforded to any other public safety officer," said Senator Blumenthal. "This bill would provide fairness and recognition to fire police-ending the arbitrary barriers they and their families now face in securing death and disability benefits. On Peace Officers Memorial Day, we owe a debt of gratitude to all who have lost and risked their lives to protect ours."
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), which represents volunteer firefighters and emergency personnel, supports the legislation.
"The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) strongly supports the Fire Police Fairness Act," said NVFC Chair Kevin D. Quinn. "Fire police officers perform a vital public safety function, carrying out traffic incident management duties at emergency scenes. In those rare, unfortunate instances in which fire police officers are killed or become permanently disabled as a result of an injury suffered in the line of duty, they should be eligible for the same benefits as any other public safety officer."