first responders

4 petitions

Update posted 7 months ago

Petition to Texas State Senate, Texas State House, Joan Huffman, Don Huffines, Lois Kolkhorst, Mike Schofield, Dwayne Bohac, Joe Straus, Larry Phillips, Texas Governor, Ted Cruz, Barack Obama, John Cornyn, Michael McCaul


Fire and EMS first responders routinely respond to the same violent incidents that police officers do. While they typically endeavor to await the arrival of law enforcement prior to entering a known dangerous scene, they operate in an extremely dynamic field and even the most innocuous sounding "sick call" can rapidly turn into a violent incident. Evidence of this can be found in two studies (McGuire et al, 2009)* which showed that pre-hospital emergency medical services providers are 7 times more likely to be murdered on duty than all other healthcare providers. It also showed that Fire and EMS first responders are 22 times more likely, than the working public at large, to sustain injuries in a violent assault that leave them unable to return to work for their next shift. There are many other studies that support these findings, as well. I do not see this as only a problem for EMS providers around the nation, it is also a very real problem for me personally. While responding to a night club shooting where law enforcement was inaccurately reported to be on scene, my crew walked into an incident that turned violent in seconds. We were lead to believe that the scene was secure, yet suddenly I found myself face to face with an armed man who stood behind the kneeling members of my crew and individually held a pistol to the back of each of their heads. Had he decided to kill us, we would have had no recourse except to await our turn to be shot. These scenes have played out hundreds of times around the both Texas and the country. Every day that our first responders lives are placed in the hands of agencies who yield to political correctness and financial liability over their right to defend themselves, quite literally brings us one day closer to the next severely injured first responder. Or even worse, the next flag draped coffin. Currently The great State of Texas allows first responders to carry on duty but it also allows for an employer to restrict or prohibit their employees from exercising their right to carry. Most employing agencies prohibit their employees from carrying on the job for fear of liability. This concern is addressed in the language of the proposed bill. A simplified explanation is included below** as well as a link to an informational YouTube video***.   *McGuire et al. "Occupational Fatalities in EMS: A Hidden Crisis." & "The Epidemiology of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Among EMS Personnel"   **On Duty Concealed Handgun License (ODCHL) Proposal I. I would like to propose that on duty first responders (FRs) be permitted to exercise their right to carry a concealed weapon for self defense. A. Currently Texas law grants FRs the right to carry but their employers can restrict or prohibit them from exercising that right. II. I propose increased training requirements, at the candidate’s expense. This curriculum would include the prerequisite of obtaining a standard Texas license to carry and then additional training in the following subjects (est. 40 hrs), to be permitted to carry on duty: A. De-escalation techniques B. Cover and concealment of both person and weapon (tactical thinking) C. Consequences of improper use D. Small arms training: i. Instinctive shooting ii. Tactical shooting iii. Shooting & moving iv. Low light shooting v. Shoot/don't shoot drills "Hogan's Alley" III. Current Texas laws prohibit the carrying of a concealed weapon in several specific locations. A. These exceptions to CHL rights should not be affected by the ODCHL endorsement if the card carrier is off duty. B. While on duty, and functioning under exigent circumstances, the ODCHL endorsement should supersede location restrictions. i. The Supreme Court ruling in 'US vs. Lopez' showed that the states have the right to set where, and by whom, those restrictions can be set or abandoned ii. The exceptions to that rule would be federal installations where 'US vs. Lopez' is not applicable iii. For these rare possibilities, as well as for fire incidents, a secure location should be provided for storage of a firearm. (Approx. $40 per unit retail) iv. The on duty exception for First Responders with an ODCHL would be similar in Tex30.06 to the FR exemption provided in Tex30.05 IV. Agency indemnification/Municipal limitations of liability A. Language should grant first responder employing agencies immunity from civil liability B. Exceptions to this rule include: Negligently failing to reasonably provide for first responder protection. Examples include: i. Failure to send law enforcement on a known dangerous situation ii. Failure to send law enforcement assistance in a timely manner when on scene units request help iii. Failure to provide accurate available information to responding units (ie. Dispatching a fire/EMS unit to a known shooting but sending it as a "Medical Problem".   ***Informational YouTube Video:

Christopher McAllister
3,903 supporters
Update posted 11 months ago

Petition to Law Makers, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Jon Stewart, Kirsten Gillibrand

Help our 9/11 First Responder Families: We Need Tax-free Pensions Now

My husband was a 9/11 first responder. Over the years, many ground zero first responders have fallen ill due to their exposure to toxic substances. Some of the first responders, like my husband, retired PRIOR to showing severe signs of work-related illnesses and have since taken on second jobs to supplement their regular taxable pensions. Now my husband has become ill, we're fearful that our family’s financial future is in jeopardy. He’s afraid of losing his current job due to the time off he must take to deal with medical conditions that will plague him for the rest of his life. He needs a tax-free pension now. He’s attempted to collect his disability pension, but has been denied -- on multiple occasions -- despite showing tons of documentation that his illnesses are 9/11 related. Social Security Disability Insurance is also extremely difficult to get. It requires years of applying, waiting, denials, and appeals. Our families simply can’t wait for benefits that may never come. We need financial relief now. Anyone who worked at ground zero or any ancillary dumping sites -- and is now showing signs of toxic-exposure related illness -- should be eligible for a tax-free pension. This means more money to support the 9/11 first responders who put their lives and health on the line to serve and their families. Please sign our petition and help families of medically disabled 9/11 first responders like mine get the tax-relief they deserve. Our first responders need tax-free pensions now!

576 supporters
Update posted 1 year ago

Petition to President of the United States, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate

Saving America's Volunteer Fire Fighters!

SAVING THE AMERICAN VOLUNTEER FIRE FIGHTER   DON’T LET CALLING 9-1-1 BECOME A GAME OF CHANCE #SAVINGFIRE is a short title for Saving America’s Volunteer Firefighters. #SAVINGFIRE is a movement to help recruit young adults (Male/Female Ages 18 – 35) and to retain existing volunteers by easing their financial burden through income tax and property insurance reimbursements. Our goal is to increase the number of people willing to become volunteer firefighters and give our current volunteer firefighter a reason to stay in the department and continue to train. Most volunteer firefighters are working class people. They tend to be just as busy, if not more so, as most Americans. The difference is, they are not paid to answer 9-1-1 calls for help and they are not paid to take the required training needed to help their “customers”. They are volunteers. So in addition to answering 9-1-1 calls they also have to hold down a full-time job(s). Is it fair to tax volunteer firefighters while others that serve your community receive wages and benefits? If the government fails to answer the call to provide meaningful financial incentives for volunteer firefighters, the days of the volunteer firefighter are numbered. Who will be your hero when you need to call 9-1-1? Q. How much money would it take to have a real impact on this national crisis? A. All firefighters in the United States of America deserve to be paid a living wage, however until that day comes, we are asking congress to fund $9.11 Billion for reimbursement of taxes paid by active & trained volunteer firefighters on their property and the income they earn through their “day jobs” in all states and territories of the United States of America. Q. This seems like a huge request, what facts are there to support this? A. According to the National Volunteer Fire Council, “The time donated by volunteer firefighters saves localities across the United States and estimated $139 billion dollars, however, less than $700 million is budgeted to help volunteer fire departments, with most of that money going to help offset the skyrocketing cost of fire and rescue vehicles and equipment. Q. What about the rest of us? It seems that this money could help more people if it were spent elsewhere to help stimulate the economy. A. That's the best part! Not only will this help millions of people who rely on volunteer firefighters by preserving this much need service, it will also be a stimulus to the local economy of the thousands of small towns across the nation who are protected by volunteer fire departments. Since most firefighters are working class people the majority of this money will probably be spent on goods and services purchased in or around the towns they serve. Firefighters will undoubtedly take advantage of this financial benefit to replace an old car, upgrade to a nicer place to live, buy new shoes for their children. When your local firefighters benefit, your community also benefits. The ripple effect of this benefit will help local businesses and even create new jobs. The government may very well reap more than they sow from this new incentive. More Facts:According to the National Fire Protection Association, a call for help from the fire department occurs about every 23 seconds. There were 1,345,500 fires reported in the USA in 2015, resulting in 3,280 deaths and 15,700 injuries. In truth, these numbers are less than they once were because of fire prevention programs and the good work of agencies like CPSC. But when it’s your house that burns, even one is too many. One death is too many. There is nothing “acceptable” in these facts. The number of volunteer firefighters who can answer your 9-1-1 calls has dropped from 897,750 in 1984 to in 756,400 in 2011. In addition, the time current volunteers can spare is shrinking. Many cannot answer daytime alarms because they can’t leave their “day job”. The decline in volunteers is bad news, but a crisis is revealed when you learn that the 10.8 million alarms answered in 1980 have skyrocketed to 29.1 million alarms in 2014.  The problem is epidemic in nature and the need for action is no less an emergency than any reason to call 9-1-1.   It’s only common sense to understand the dilemma and for every 9-1-1 caller where service is delayed due to the lack of first responders. For those that lie in wait as the minutes hang like hours, the truth is dire and agonizingly clear. Any other business would have recognized the need long ago. Immediate action is needed now to increase the trained first responders. Q. Shouldn’t we do a study first? A. There have been many studies done on the subject. In addition, there have been many dollars wasted updating and redoing this work to only find the same answers. Request for tax relief for volunteers has been suggested in nearly every study done, no matter the locality. The following excerpt from a United States Fire Administration Report from a 2007 Study had this to say about the money issue facing volunteers and incidentally, things have only gotten worse. “The Two-Income Family--The surge in the number of two-income families since the early 1970s has meant that people have very little time to volunteer. Time is spent at work, with the children, and maintaining the house. Spare time is an anomaly today. The little time people do find to volunteer is often too little to allow them to become active in the fire service. Those who do volunteer in the emergency services today often discover that the time requirements, particularly the startup demands associated with initial training, are too great.” The issue is clear. Without meaningful monetary incentive, firefighters will not continue to do this important work. Volunteer Firefighters don’t go on strike; they simply stop answering when the siren sounds.  Trucks that used to have a full crew now have only a few volunteers, especially during daytime calls. This request for $9.11 Billion dollars would not require any special laws or complex requirement to be written. The money would simply flow through the Department of Homeland Security to FEMA’s SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) grant program to the individual firefighters that meet their state firefighter certification requirements and respond to a required percentage of alarms to remain in good standing in their volunteer fire department and file a request for reimbursement. Please write to your elected officials on all levels of federal, state and local government to let them know that you support #SAVING FIRE. Share your support on Facebook. Post videos of your support to YouTube. Use every resource in your power to help. We aren’t seeking donations, only your heartfelt support, in your own words, about how important you feel your local volunteer firefighters are to you. Why this should matter to you:Your letter will help to ensure that there is someone there to answer the call when you call 9-1-1! The life you save could be your own or someone you love dearly. #SavingFire  Share this Petition easily by including Like us on Facebook and visit our website  Photo of the aerial platform sunset picture taken at "The Island Fire" Logan Twp. near Altoona, Pa courtesy
7,361 supporters