1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    4

    Default Senate passes call firefighter benefit bill

    Senate passes call firefighter benefit bill
    By Erik Arvidson Sentinel & Enterprise Statehouse Bureau



    BOSTON -- Communities which employ call or volunteer firefighters would be required to offer an accidental death benefit to the families of those firefighters who die in the line of duty, under a bill approved by the state Senate Thursday.

    Senators unanimously approved legislation which supporters said will provide a safety net for families such as Claire McNamara of Lancaster and her three children, whose father, Martin McNamara, died fighting a house fire in 2003.

    State Sen. Robert A. Antonioni, D-Leominster, said that volunteer and professional firefighters should be treated the same in the eyes of the law when it comes to offering death benefits to families.

    "Had (McNamara) been a professional firefighter on the day that he gave his life, we wouldn't be here talking about this today," Antonioni said. "His widow and his three small girls would have been taken care of. Massachusetts law, historically, has made a very severe distinction between the benefits available to a call and volunteer firefighter and a professional firefighter."

    Because McNamara was not a full-time firefighter, he was not entitled to receive a publicly-funded pension. In 2004, voters in Lancaster rejected a tax increase that would have paid for a $650,000 annuity for the McNamara family.

    The bill approved by the Senate gives cities and towns with call or volunteer firefighters a range of options for providing an annuity to their firefighters, volunteer emergency medical technicians, and auxiliary police. The House has already approved a similar bill.

    The family of a deceased firefighter would be entitled to an amount of money based on the average starting salary of a career firefighter in the surrounding towns. The local legislative body of a city or town would also be allowed to opt out of the system.

    The McNamara family would also receive a $23,000 per year allowance under a provision included in the bill.

    Joseph Maruca, legislative director for the Massachusetts Call/Volunteer Firefighters Association, said the bill allows smaller communities to band together and jointly purchase insurance for their emergency personnel.

    There are roughly 8,500 volunteer firefighters in Massachusetts, nearly 45 percent of the total firefighters in the state. According to Maruca, Massachusetts has a higher percentage of professional firefighters than any other state in the country.

    "That's because the laws have always favored the career side of the service, and haven't been as encouraging for the volunteer side. So, this is a big day for volunteer firefighters," Maruca said.

    There are 120 communities with entirely volunteer fire departments, and another 160 communities with a combination of professional and call firefighters.

    James Buck, a spokesman for the McNamara family, said the family was very pleased with the bill passed by the Senate.

    "These young men are not only putting their lives at risk, but are putting their families' economic security at risk," Buck said. "The towns certainly shouldn't shirk their responsibility, as they're getting fire protection on the cheap. They have an obligation, under the bill, to provide financial assistance."

    McNamara was an employee of Technical Drilling Service in Sterling when he died.

    Erik Arvidson's e-mail address is earvidson@lowellsun.com.

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Now in Victoria, BC. I'm from beautiful Jasper Alberta in the heart of the Can. Rockies - will always be an Albertan at heart!
    Posts
    6,329

    Default

    As this was a hot topic in the past I'm kinda shocked there haven't been any replies to this thread
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    4

    Default

    i guess it would have had more response if the article was about red lights for personal vehicles.

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Now in Victoria, BC. I'm from beautiful Jasper Alberta in the heart of the Can. Rockies - will always be an Albertan at heart!
    Posts
    6,329

    Default

    I suppose you could always search for the original thread and post the article there as an update.

    Too many controversial threads going on, I guess this one got missed in the melee

    Mind you, there have been over 200 views, so who knows
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    608

    Default

    I'm all for it.

    A fire fighter death in the line of duty is a death in the line of duty and should be treated the same in respects to state and federal personal benefits. If you provide it to career guys they can provide it to volunteers.

    Next on the agenda should be a federal law protecting the right of career fire fighters to volunteer where by limiting the ability of the union to restrict this right in collective bargaining contracts.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber
    ChiefReason's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Illinois-where pertnear is close enough!
    Posts
    5,636

    Default

    Any time I see a benefit extended to the other 85% of firefighters, it does my heart good.
    I see no difference with regards to line of duty and types of fire departments.
    CR
    Visit www.iacoj.com
    Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
    RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    23

    Default Hmmmm.... I question it

    I am all for this bill. But read the fine print, the communities/cities can opt out at anytime. That is if I read it right. To me that means that the benefit is there but only if the community or city offers it.

    And I am also sure there will be a training mandate attached to the bill. I know in Florida you can't go into a fire unless you are a State Certified FFI. It's amazing with all these laws and rules that anything can get done.

    Fact: Most laws/rules come from the majority of the people who whine and moan. But are smart enough to use the system to there advantage... I think I might start whinning! heeheeee..

    All in all, this bill was a good law!

    -D

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Women in the Firehouse
    By hctrouble25 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 281
    Last Post: 08-01-2006, 10:18 PM
  2. Replies: 384
    Last Post: 05-18-2002, 11:17 AM
  3. Man Allegedly posses as Firefighter
    By LtStick in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 11-04-2001, 01:58 PM
  4. A tribute to those lost and how firefighter familys recover
    By Alexa747 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-20-2001, 11:46 AM
  5. Thermal Imaging SOG's
    By wtfd92 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 06-27-2001, 08:41 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register