On May 12, 2009, Senator Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocratic Senate campaign arm raised more than .5 million in January On the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump Susan Collins in statistical tie with Democratic challenger: poll MORE (R-Maine) and I reintroduced our Volunteer Firefighter and EMS Personnel Job Protection Act. As co-chairs of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, this bill is part of our ongoing effort to support firefighters nationwide.

This bipartisan legislation would prohibit employers from firing or disciplining volunteer firefighters or EMS personnel who were forced to miss work to respond to a presidentially declared disaster. First responders will no longer be required to make a choice between losing their job and responding to a presidentially declared disaster or emergency.

Communities across the country depend on volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services personnel to respond to major disasters. Current law offers these volunteers no protection against punishment by their employers if they miss work when called to respond to a national emergency. This means that firefighters or EMS personnel volunteering their time during major disasters such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina or even the current wildfires in California, can be disciplined or even fired – all while they put their lives at risk to save others.

This bill is especially important for a state like Delaware that depends so much on its volunteer services. These men and women are everyday heroes who should not be punished for bravely answering the call of duty.