The many days always from home, rather for teaching or on responses has been a huge strain on my family. I have missed many functions over the years; daughters school functions, anniversaries, birthdays. There is an unbelievable amount of stress placed on my family each and every time I pull out of the driveway and take off for the week, or longer. The emotional toll has been horrific. –PEF Fire Protection Specialist

For starters, many SOB classes are held on weekends to cater to the volunteer firefighter, so their gain is our loss. It takes us away from birthdays and family events on a regular basis. Being deployed in a moment’s notice for snow standbys now leaves my wife to take care of the house and clearing the driveway till I get home from helping others again leaving my family to pick up my absents. Being deployed out of state to NC with 12 hours’ notice and possibly being gone for up to two weeks. Again, leaving my wife to take care of the house and still working her full-time job. Halloween night floods again called out the door with 2 hours’ notice and spend the next 18 hours driving an HAV and performing multiple rescues saving others. All while my basement starts flooding leaving my pregnant wife to call her father to help move stuff out of the basement to save it from flooding and being ruined. As of December, I am a happy father to a beautiful baby girl but already I have spent several nights away from her. This now leaves my wife at the mercy of calling on our family to help her with snow removal as she is housebound with our newborn daughter. So now the impact of being an SPF has extended past my wife to now my extended family to come to help my wife as I am called to help others. Lake Ontario kept me away an additional 35 nights last summer and that just hotel stays. I have many more days where I drove home from Pulaski so I can see my family for a few hours before bed just to wake up and drive back up to Pulaski. I had over 400 overtime hours due to Lake Ontario on top of the 7.5- hour workday. –PEF Fire Protection Specialist

I am a Fire Protection Specialist 1 with the NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control, assigned to the Special Operations Branch. I have spent the last 8 years in this position. Every day I get the opportunity to go out and train the first responders of our great state in subject matters relating to Hazardous Materials and Technical Rescue (I.e. water rescue, building collapse, trench rescue). I consider myself lucky to have the opportunity to be able to do the job that I do! When I am not teaching, I am responding to emergencies to provide subject matter expertise to local agencies or assist in the operations. I worry about what would happen to me or my family should I get hurt in the course of my duties. In just the past 6 months, I have responded and actively taken part in operations to include; a trench rescue in Poughkeepsie in which two workers were rescued without further injuries; flooding in the Mohawk valley in which we rescued 6 people caught by the raging floodwaters and put ourselves in what Governor Cuomo said, “ …harm’s way and risked their lives…”. I have also responded to numerous Hazardous Materials incidents including an overturned and leaking gasoline truck, a large fire involving combustible liquids requiring the activation of the State’s Foam Task Force (of which I am a part of) amongst many others. Under our current contract, I don’t even qualify for hazardous duty pay even though I continually put my life at risk to protect the citizens of New York! Many times, including holidays and family gatherings I have left my family to go help others at a moment’s notice. We need your help to make sure we are properly protected in case of the unthinkable happens and need to compensate fairly! –PEF Fire Protection Specialist

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