From the Desk of Ed Ra: Appreciating out firefighters as we end fire safety week

The Island Now

Our firefighters deserve the utmost recognition for their selfless dedication to protecting our homes and loved ones from harm. While so many of us seek to avoid danger at all costs, these heroic men and women stand up and run into the fire.

When the bell rings, these courageous community members don’t hesitate and are ready at a moment’s notice to answer the call. We are forever indebted to these brave citizens for all the sacrifices they have made in the pursuit of a safer community.

Many have missed out on Thanksgiving dinners with their families, soccer games with their kids, birthday parties and so many other holidays and traditions we cherish and enjoy. Yet, their commitment never wavers. For that, we are forever grateful and cannot thank them enough.

Last month, our state and nation commemorated the 20th anniversary of 9/11. We honored the firefighters who on that day selflessly rushed into the Twin Towers to make sure as many people as possible came out of those buildings. Many paid the ultimate sacrifice. Many survivors now face detrimental health complications. It’s critical that we do our part to help our heroes in their time of need, as they did for us.

I’m especially proud of a bill that passed the Senate and Assembly to expand cancer coverage for volunteer firefighters. But we can do more. This coming legislative session, we should renew state support of the Victim’s Compensation Fund, which provides our heroes present at 9/11 sites to receive monetary compensation.

We should also be advocating for the expansion of their health coverage. It’s the very least we can do for their unparalleled dedication. In times of fear and uncertainty, our heroes showcase the finest qualities of New Yorkers: strength, selflessness and service.

As we recognize this week as Fire Safety Week, I encourage you all to take the time to make sure you and your family has taken the steps to be prepared. Our firefighters will always answer the call to help, but it’s important we take proactive steps to do what we can to avoid fires from starting.
Here are a few tips:

• Have a fire escape plan in place.
• Make sure your smoke alarm is working properly. After 10 years, smoke alarms need to be replaced. A chirping noise coming from your alarms means it needs to be replaced.
• Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms meet the needs of all your family members, including those with sensory or physical disabilities.

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