Members of the West Virginia State Firemen’s Association met with Governor Earl Ray Tomblin at his office on Wednesday February 2, 2011 to discuss the current crisis facing the volunteer fire departments within the State pertaining to Worker’s Compensation Coverage.
Governor Tomblin assured the volunteers in attendance that within the week, legislation would be drafted and presented to the Legislature to fix the upcoming crisis before it takes effect.
In 2010, members of the WVSFA met with former Governor Manchin to discuss these issues. At this meeting, representatives from Brickstreet Insurance, the current Worker’s Compensation provider to State VFDs, stated that come July 1 2011, Brickstreet would no longer provide worker’s compensation coverage to VFDs. Considering WC coverage is mandated by State Law, if a resolution is not found by July 1 2011, those fire departments without WC coverage must shut their doors and stop providing services to their communities.
As of this date, information about the expected legislative draft is sketchy, however, hints toward a “pool” of financial assistance to volunteer departments for worker’s comp coverage has been discussed. No details are available yet, however, we will be keeping a close eye on this issue and will deliver information to you when it becomes available.
Further discussion between WV Volunteer Firefighters and their Legislators continued throughout the day. Most of the legislators were receptive to our concerns and many understand the crisis in which we’re under. However, as with any type of legislative agenda, the more people we have involved, from every corner of West Virginia, the better. We implore each and every volunteer firefighter in the State to contact their representatives and make it known to them how you feel concerning these issues.