Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, champion of fire and EMS, dies at age 87

Sarbanes, 87, was a past chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus and a strong ally of the CFSI and NFFF

By Laura French

BALTIMORE — Former Maryland Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, a longtime champion of fire and EMS and past chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, died on Sunday at the age of 87. 

Sarbanes was a powerful ally of the Congressional Fire Services Institute throughout his three terms in the House of Representatives and five terms in the Senate, advocating for many fire and EMS causes and demonstrating a passion and commitment to firefighter health and safety, according to the CFSI. Sarbanes introduced legislation in 1992 that created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and was named Legislator of the Year by the CFSI in 1997. 

Between 1993 and 2001, Sarbanes served as a co-chairman of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus and held the position of chair between 2001 and 2003. Following his retirement in 2006, the CFSI and NFFF established the Senator Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award, which recognizes fire departments and fire service organizations for outstanding leadership in advancing firefighter health and safety.

"I had the privilege and pleasure of a nearly 40-year professional relationship with Senator Sarbanes. He was such an effective legislator because of the substance of his arguments. You always wanted Senator Paul Sarbanes on your side," said CFSI Vice President Jim Estepp, in a statement. "On behalf of the CFSI, I extend my sympathies to the Sarbanes family on the loss of such a great man and public servant." 

The Senator Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Services Safety Leadership Award honoring the senator's legacy is presented each year at the National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner in Washington, D.C. Applications for the 2021 award are currently open until Jan. 8. 


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