Every spring marks the annual pilgrimage of firefighters to Washington DC to meet with those people who work for us. Those congressmen and senators and yes even the President whom we employ to do our bidding and represent us in matters related to our profession and our nation. This year there are several things which I think we need to take particular interest in as we speak with these "employees".
First I must confess that to to a very critical personal matter I will be unable to attend this year. I have sent a resolution along to the congressional fire services Institute national advisory board for a continuation of their support of our efforts to get hydroxocobalamin approved for the treatemnt of smoke inhalation. We must also contiue our efforts at finding faster and more efficent and cheeper routes of administration such as sublingual.
As always we also need to continue our efforts in securing funding for reccuring issues such as the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, the safer program and our urban security initiatives program which provide significant resources to fire services around our nation.
But this year we have a particularly simple and I think incredibly important opportunity everyone attending the congressional fire services dinner and the Capitol Hill day should make an extra effort to visit the office one congressman John Larson and let him know you're behind him 110%. And here's why Congressman John Larson (CT-01) introduced legislation today to allow the American flag to be flown at half-staff in the event of the death of a first responder in the line of duty.
“First responders put their lives on the line to serve their communities on a daily basis and deserve the same recognition as public officials and our brave men and women in the Armed Forces,” Congressman Larson said. “These men and women are our friends, family and neighbors. In the event the unthinkable happens, they deserve the respect of having our flag flown at half-staff.”
The inspiration for the Honoring Hometown Heroes Act came from Windsor resident Jim McLoughlin who petitioned Congressman Larson to pursue the change to U.S. Code, Title 4, which regulates the use of the American flag. McLoughlin is a Hartford firefighter and is the Founder and Board Chairman of the National Honor Guard Commanders Association.
Currently, the law specifically allows the American Flag to be flown at half-staff following the death of any present or former government official or any member of the Armed Forces.
Three simple things, three very different things, three things that really matter when you're speaking to your representative. First remind them to support the continued evaluation and research into the use of hydroxocobalamin this will definitely save lives maybe even your own.
Secondly asked them to continue to support our fire act grants program, it is making a difference in important and significant ways. And third asked them to support Congressman Larson's legislation to amend US code title for to allow the American flag to be placed at half mast at the direction of the governor when a public safety official dies in the line of duty.
Personally I think it's about time that firefighters, law enforcement officers and EMS providers received the same level of respect and dignity as our elected officials do when they die while performing their duties.