The Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee approved legislation today sponsored by Senator Robert Singer that would establish the “Volunteer Fire Company Assistance Program” along with a special non-lapsing State fund that would receive an appropriation of $10 million to support the operations of volunteer fire companies.
“Volunteer firefighters save local taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars every year by volunteering their time and expertise and are essential assets for our communities, especially in suburban and rural areas,” said Singer (R-30). “Unfortunately, financial strains can limit the ability of some municipalities to provide additional funding to volunteer fire companies. Given the public safety issues at play, it’s time for the state to step up with a dedicated funding source to ensure that these fire companies are properly equipped to effectively carry out their duties.”
Under the legislation, S-3925, the Director of the Division of Fire Safety would be required to develop and administer a grant program to annually distribute money in the fund to volunteer fire companies in the form of grants to support the ongoing operations and sustainability of volunteer fire companies, including the purchasing of emergency equipment.
“These men and women have earned the respect and enduring gratitude of communities they serve,” added Singer. “The least we can do is make sure they are able to afford new and necessary equipment.”