HOWARD COUNTY, MD — Volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel serving Howard County on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic will be awarded “length of service” points through a county funded program that provides retirement benefits to the volunteer first responders during a state of emergency. A bill has been pre-filed authorizing Howard County Executive Calvin Ball to issue the points.
Howard County Fire Chief William Anuszewski said the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the department in numerous ways.
“The county executive recognizes the impact this pandemic has had on the volunteer system and the ability for a volunteer to earn LOSAP points. This legislative change will help lessen the impact for the volunteer membership,” he noted.
To receive credit for a year of active service, a volunteer must have accumulated at least 50 creditable points during the calendar year. Points are awarded for training courses, drills, elected or appointed positions, attendance at meetings, emergency responses, military service and those with a permanent disability.
“Our members have expressed concern with obtaining their annual points due to the reduced fundraising activities and operational support the pandemic has caused,” said Howard County Volunteer Firefighters Association President Raymond Wines. “Our personnel remain committed to volunteer but need to take every precaution in keeping their families healthy. We all strive to accumulate the appropriate points, but these times are challenging. I, personally, thank Executive Ball for his consideration on this matter.”
Ball expressed his appreciation for the volunteers during such a trying time.
“We deeply appreciate the many volunteers who continue to support our department of fire and rescue services and are pleased to provide these benefits to our volunteer members who we rely on for a safe and engaged community,” he said.