The Alabama State legislature recently passed a resolution creating Firefighter Appreciation Day. The resolution was introduced in the State House of Representatives by Rep. Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, and in the State Senate by Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa. Gov. Robert Bentley signed the resolution e at a ceremony earlier this weekat the Capitol Building in Montgomery.
“I couldn’t believe that we didn’t already have this,” said Ford. “Firefighters put their lives on the line every day, and we just wanted to make sure we do something to recognize these brave men and women for what they do.”
The resolution states that Firefighter Appreciation Day will be the Friday of Fire Prevention Week every year. Fire prevention week is held in October. This year, Firefighter Appreciation Day will be on October 9.
“This is a great thing for all firefighters, professional and volunteer,” said Steve Pegues, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Alabama, the state affiliate of the International Association of Fire Fighters.
“This resolution was one of our legislative priorities this year, and we appreciate Rep. Ford and Sen. Allen for sponsoring this legislation.”
In addition to the resolution creating Firefighter Appreciation Day, the House passed House Bill 30, which would extend death benefits to families of firefighters and law enforcement officers who die from occupational diseases, such as HIV, Hepatitis C and cancer.
“The majority of calls firefighters get are medical in nature, and that exposes our people to a lot of risk,” said Pegues. “Law enforcement officers face a lot of the same risks. So this bill would simply make sure that if one of these guys gets sick while serving in the line of duty, his or her family will be taken care of.”
House Bill 30 must now be passed by the Senate before the governor can sign it into law.