There is no question that final passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act is a positive outcome for our many brothers and sisters who are still suffering from the after-effects of that tragic day in New York City almost 10 years ago.
The arduous process of getting this obviously "right to do" legislation through Congress to President Obama's pen, however, illustrates the challenges faced by firefighters, and fire departments, at every level of government during this unprecedented fiscal climate.
We may still be considered America's heroes.
But in a time when everyone is struggling to make ends meet, nothing is guaranteed.
We owe it to ourselves, and those we serve, to get informed about the public policy process and become credible, effective, and hardworking advocates for fire protection and emergency services in our communities.
About the author
With more than two decades in the field, Chief Adam K. Thiel — FireRescue1's editorial advisor — is an active fire chief in the National Capital Region and a former state fire director for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Chief Thiel's operational experience includes serving with distinction in four states as a chief officer, incident commander, company officer, hazardous materials team leader, paramedic, technical rescuer, structural/wildland firefighter and rescue diver. He also directly participated in response and recovery efforts for several major disasters including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tropical Storm Gaston and Hurricane Isabel.
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