Howard Co. proposes increased benefits for volunteer firefighters

Earlier this month, County Executive Ken Ulman introduced a bill to the County Council expanding retirement benefits for volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel.

The benefit package, called the Length of Service Award Program, or LoSAP, will have an increased monthly benefit for retired volunteers. It does not apply to paid full-time employees or contingents.

The new monthly payment will be equivalent to 1 percent of the current starting salary of a firefighter trainee. For an eligible volunteer who has served 25 years and is over the age of 50, that would mean a payment of $460 each month for life, up from the previous monthly benefit of $250.

For each year of service exceeding 25 years, volunteers may also be eligible to receive an extra $10 a month.

According to the county, there are nearly 90 volunteers who have served more than 25 years.

The bill also introduces a one-time death benefit of $5,000 and six months of survivor benefits.

Ulman said the bill was a way to give back to volunteer firefighters and EMTs who put themselves in danger for Howard County citizens.

"We our sincere gratitude to the men and women who selflessly give back to their communities and are willing to put their own safety at risk on behalf of others," he said. "With this package, our volunteers will have the best benefits in the state of Maryland."

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