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Protect those who help at scene of emergency

Imagine a New Yorker rushing into an emergency. Sadly, this is something too many of us can relate to – courageous souls using their skills to save and protect lives. Now imagine these individuals being sued for the help – forced to spend money and time being questioned and harangued for wanting to help their community. This is not a work of fiction, but rather reality.

Sadly, our State Senate was unable to move to the floor this session a bill to protect these individuals. The New York Emergency Responder Act would provide immunity for a registered architect or engineer who provides certain architectural or engineering services at the scene of a declared emergency.

In times of emergency, such as the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, civil engineers have volunteered their technical expertise to try to save both lives and property. Engineers have been called on to assist with building collapses, tunnel cave-ins and similar disasters. They have done so often at risk to themselves, but also in danger of being subjected to a lawsuit if their actions did not prove successful.

It is discouraging that such simple and necessary legislation was overlooked this session. The lives of many could be saved by qualified individuals without the threat of losing their livelihood with this legislation. I urge all New Yorkers to support this common-sense legislation and ask their legislator to protect those who want to help when our state needs them the most.

Brian Carlson, P.E.

President, American Society of

Civil Engineers, Buffalo Section