Whether you’re a firefighter, legislator or firefighter supporter we need your help to get the Hometown Heroes Assistance Program (HF377 & SF 621) passed in 2021!
What is the Hometown Heroes Assistance Program (HHAP)?
Sponsored by Sen. Jeff Howe (R, District 13) in the Senate and Rep. Cheryl Youakim (D, District 46B) in the House, the bipartisan bill costs $7.2 million annually to ensure all of Minnesota’s 20,000 firefighters have access to the care needed to handle a cardiac, emotional trauma or cancer diagnosis.
Minnesota currently ranks 48th in the nation in per-capita fire service spending, making it difficult for fire service leaders to prioritize firefighter health measures and equipment, such as department-wide health checkups, gear-cleaning tools and mental health resources. Departments do what they can to address these issues, but with limited resources, firefighters receive limited help and education.
The HHAP establishes one-time lump-sum “Critical Care” grants for all Minnesota firefighters diagnosed with cancer or cardiac issues, guaranteeing $30,000 per diagnosis. Additionally, the HHAP creates an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for all Minnesota firefighters facing emotional trauma issues unique to their occupation. Support for annual MnFIRE Awareness Trainings is also included in the initiative.
What can I do to help?
We’ve had some great momentum over the past few months and the Capitol is abuzz with constructive conversations about this legislation and firefighter health as a whole. The single most impactful thing you can do to help is call your legislator today and ask them to support passage of this vital legislation. You can find your local representatives and senators here.
“Passage of the HHAP depends on fire service supporters reaching out to their legislators,” said George Esbensen, president of MnFIRE. “Without folks contacting their legislators, our state’s firefighters won’t get the support and resources they so desperately need.”
We can all do our part to help support the men and women who protect us and our communities every day – starting with advocating for the Hometown Heroes Assistance Program.