According to a story on cbslocal.com, area first responders are urging passage of federal legislation that would protect the families of volunteer EMTs killed in the line of duty.
Why are they doing this?
In March 2010, Danny McIntosh suffered a massive heart attack in the line of duty and passed away a short time later. He was 39 years old and left behind a widow and two children.
The federal Public Safety Officer Benefits program was created in the 1970s to provide benefits to the families of first responders who die or become disabled in the line of duty. However, current law limits these benefits only to those emergency personnel who are employed by governmental units. Volunteers are excluded.
There is currently legislation named for Danny and sponsored by U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-8th) that would extend benefits to the families of volunteer emergency service personnel who die in the line of duty.
“The promise of America is equal protection under the law,” said Fitzpatrick in May. “Families of emergency services personnel should not be denied protection simply because their loved one didn’t collect a paycheck in the service of their community. This legislation seeks to take care of those who take care of us.”
Today, Danny’s widow Bethann went to Washington to speak with members of Congress about the bill.
“We need letters of support from all over the United States,” the group’s website states. “Please write a letter to your member of Congress and your Senators and ask them to co-sponsor 'DannyMac.' The letter doesn’t need to be long or complicated. It can be hand written. As long as you include your name & address, it will work.”
The letters can be faxed to Bensalem EMS at 215-639-9905 or Fitzpatrick’s office at 215-579-8109.
“The recognition of Danny and this legislation means so much to me and my daughters,” said Bethann. “I hope it will prevent families like mine from suffering a second devastation after the loss of a loved one in the line of duty.”
Fitzpatrick told CBS the bill is languishing in the House Judiciary Committee.
“We’re not going to give up until we’ve done everything we can possibly do to get this law passed, so I remain hopeful,” he said. “I’m an optimist and we’re not going to give up on Danny’s family.”