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SB22-002

Resources For Volunteer Firefighters

Concerning increasing the resources available for fire protection services provided by volunteer and seasonal firefighters.
Session:
2022 Regular Session
Subject:
Local Government
Bill Summary

Wildfire Matters Review Committee. The bill allows fire departments, including fire protection districts and volunteer fire departments, to be compensated from state funding sources for wildland fire suppression activities conducted in the fire department's jurisdiction if the fire department relies primarily or solely on volunteer firefighters, the fire exceeds the department's capacity to extinguish or control, and the period of mutual aid has ended. The fire department must use money received to compensate volunteer firefighters in accordance with guidelines adopted by the division of fire prevention and control (division) in the annual wildfire preparedness plan. Boards of county commissioners are authorized to reimburse fire departments from county funds for wildland fire suppression activities conducted within the fire department's jurisdiction in the same circumstances.

The bill amends the existing local firefighter safety and disease prevention fund grant program (program) to allow grants to be spent to provide access to mental health services for seasonal and volunteer firefights involved in wildland fire suppression in addition to purchasing equipment and providing training. The bill requires the program to give priority in awarding grants to governing bodies and volunteer fire departments that:

  • Have lost tax revenues as a result of decreased assessment values due to a wildland fire within their jurisdiction in the previous 5 years;
  • Rely solely or primarily on volunteer firefighters and serve communities affected by wildland fires; or
  • Demonstrate the greatest need for additional funding to ensure the safety of volunteer and seasonal firefighters.

The general assembly is required to annually appropriate $5 million to the program and may appropriate additional money as necessary to meet the needs of governing bodies and volunteer fire departments. On or before September 1, 2032, the staff of the joint budget committee is required to report on whether the amount of the annual appropriation should be adjusted based on current needs.

In addition, the division may use money in the firefighter safety and disease prevention fund to reimburse mental and behavioral health-care specialists for services provided to firefighters who have served as volunteer or seasonal wildland firefighters, in accordance with rules adopted by the division.


(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)

Status

Introduced
Under Consideration

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Bill Text

Sponsors

Sponsor Type Legislators
Prime Sponsor

Sen. J. Ginal, Sen. T. Story
Rep. L. Cutter, Rep. P. Will

Sponsor

Sen. P. Lee
Rep. M. Lynch, Rep. M. Snyder, Rep. D. Valdez

Co-sponsor