County commissioners say they want to pay employees who miss work because they are responding to a catastrophic event.
All three county commissioners Wednesday said they support a move to make a proposed firefighter policy include paid time off if a county employee misses work because they are responding to an incident. Commissioner Tony Amadio, a longtime volunteer firefighter, suggested pay if a first responder is involved with a "catastrophic" event such as a plane crash.
"We're not going to pay them for just responding to a fire alarm," Amadio said. "God forbid, we have another plane crash, I wouldn't have a problem with reimbursing an EMT, fireman or policeman who is responding."
Amadio has told of how he responded to the fatal crash of Flight 427 in Hopewell Township in 1994. As a member of the Center Township Volunteer Fire Department, he spent most of the night at the crash site near Green Garden Plaza before leaving to go to teach at Center High School running on adrenaline and no sleep.
He doesn't want county employees who volunteer as first responders to face the same situation.
That's what spurred Chairman Daniel Camp to propose the policy in September. He was approached by Center Township Volunteer Fire Department's chief after the pipeline explosion because a firefighter who worked for the county had to miss work. Camp said he realized no policy was in place that allowed first responders to take time off because of an emergency call without penalty.
The policy, which Commissioner Sandie Egley said she also supports, will not apply to employees who work a shift at the jail or 911 center, officials said.
"The policy states that the time off will be at the discretion of the director," Camp said. "We figure it's better to try it first as paid, then change it if it gets out of hand."
The commissioners likely will vote on the policy in early February.