Assemblywoman Buttenschon: Legislation to Standardize Training in the Fire Service to Assist Those with Disabilities Passes Assembly

Today, Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D-C Marcy) announced that her legislation to ensure that training for members of the fire service is standardized when assisting thosewith physical and/or developmental disabilities passed the New York State Assembly (A1533a).

“I spent my career in higher education creating curriculum. With my work with the Utica Fire Academy, it had become apparent that there was no consistent statewide curriculum to train firefighters on procedures when assisting residents who have developmental and/or physical disabilities. While many academics and departments do training, however others do not,” said Assemblywoman Buttenschon.

“When firefighters respond to emergency situations, difficulty can arise if they are not fully prepared to protect mobility-limited and/or developmentally disabled individuals. Not only does this put the person facing the emergency in greater danger, but it also affects the responding firefighter," explained Assemblywoman Buttenschon. "This legislation would safeguard that all firefighters have basic training in handling emergencies involving those with a physical and/or developmental disability."

The legislation will require the Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC) to work with the commissioner of the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities to establish the best practices and offer basic training for firefighters to handle emergency situations involving individuals with disabilities. Currently, OFPC has a Group Home Awareness Training and an online Disability Awareness Training Program that can be revised for all state firefighters.

“We are very fortunate that at the Utica Fire Academy this curriculum has been offered for over a decade and is included in the academic program, as well as many of the volunteer fire departments in my district collaborate with agencies that serve people with disabilities to offer the training,” said Buttenschon. "By equipping our firefighters with the necessary training to handle emergency situations involving all individuals, we are not only safeguarding the victim but also our firefighters. I commend my colleagues for their unanimous support and urge the Governor to join us in enhancing consistent statewide training for our firefighters and those they assist with disabilities."