On International Firefighters’ Day, Kuster Announces Legislation To Support Volunteer Firefighters and First Responders
Washington, May 4, 2023
Washington, D.C. – Today, on International Firefighters' Day, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH-02) announced bipartisan legislation to support volunteer firefighters and first responders, while addressing the local volunteer shortage. The bill, the Helping Our Heroes Act, will allow volunteer emergency responders, including firefighters, ambulance services, civil air patrol, and search and rescue services, to treat each hour of service or training as a $20 charitable contribution for the purpose of a tax deduction. This deduction would be available for up to 300 hours per year. Rep. Kuster introduced this bill alongside Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY-19).
Rep. Kuster said, “Volunteer emergency responders put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities. From firefighters to EMTs and civil air patrol, these volunteers are there when Granite Staters need them most. I am proud to introduce this legislation to support our volunteer emergency responders and thank them for their service.”
Rep. Molinaro said, “Becoming a volunteer emergency responder is one of the most noble and selfless acts of service one can undertake. We need to do more to support those who put their lives on the line to protect our communities. By providing volunteer firefighters and first responders with a meaningful tax deduction, we will be showing our deep appreciation for these heroes, while helping fire departments and EMS agencies address the volunteer shortage.”
Chief Steve Hirsch, Chair of the National Volunteer Fire Council said, “The National Volunteer Fire Council thanks Rep. Kuster for her leadership in introducing the Helping Our Heroes Act. Many volunteer fire departments struggle to recruit and retain firefighters. This can be attributed to a number of factors, including the COVID 19 pandemic and increased mental and physical pressures due to a significant rise in call volumes. Between 2010 and 2020 the number of volunteer firefighters in the United States dropped by 12%. The ‘above the line’ tax deduction created by this important legislation would serve as a key incentive to recruit and retain volunteers and reverse this trend.”