Sen. Carper New Co-Chair Of Congressional Fire Caucus; Proposes Legislation To Help Delaware Firefighters

DOVER – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) today joined members of the Delaware Volunteer Fireman’s Association at the Delaware Fire School to show his continued support of firefighters in Delaware and across the nation, and to announce that he is the proud new co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus.

Sen. Carper said, “I am proud to have the opportunity to continue Delaware’s long tradition of leadershjp on fire issues in Washington. I have always enjoyed working with and for the men and women in Delaware who serve their neighbors and their communities as firefighters. I look forward to deepen that relationship in the coming years as a co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus.”

Sen. Carper also highlighted two key pieces of legislation he will be introducing within the next month, the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act and the Volunteer Firefighter and EMS Personnel Job Protection Act.

Firefighters, due to the nature of their work, are susceptible to a range of diseases and medical conditions at a much higher rate than other professions, including heart disease, lung disease, and even certain cancers and infectious diseases. Most states have a law that assumes that, in most cases, firefighters who get these diseases got sick on the job. These laws make it easier for firefighters and their families to obtain disability and death benefits.

Sen. Carper’s Federal Firefighters Fairness Act would apply this benefit at the federal level so all firefighters employed by the federal government, including those working for the Department of Defense at locations in Delaware like the Dover Air Force Base and the New Castle County Air National Guard Base, can more easily claim the benefits they deserve as a result of their service.

His second bill, the Volunteer Firefighter and EMS Personnel Job Protection Act, would prohibit employers from firing or disciplining volunteer firefighters or EMS personnel who are forced to miss work to respond to a presidentially declared disaster. This bill is especially important for a state like Delaware that depends so much on its volunteers’ services.

“Volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel are vital to protecting the health and safety of all Americans, especially in Delaware where we rely so much on volunteers for both day-to-day incidents and major disasters,” said Sen. Carper. “I am proud to be in a position where I can help these everyday heroes get the protections they so rightly deserve.”

Sen. Carper joins fellow caucus co-chairs Sens. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Congressmen Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), Rob Andrews (D-N.J.) and Peter King (R-N.Y.). Both former Sens. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Bill Roth (R-Del.) were co-chairs of the caucus.

For more information on the Congressional Fire Services Caucus: