Stamas firefighter training bills approved by Senate panel

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Regulatory Reform Committee on Wednesday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Jim Stamas to update Michigan’s firefighter training standards.

“Michigan firefighters put their own lives at risk on a daily basis to protect our communities and save lives,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “Although our firefighters perform a tremendous service, our state firefighter training standards have not been updated in more than 30 years. We have been working with the Fire Services Coalition on this legislation to ensure our firefighters are prepared to meet new and existing challenges they will face serving our communities.”

Midland Fire Department Chief Chris Coughlin testified in support of the bills. Coughlin represents the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs, which is one of the groups in the Fire Services Coalition. The other organizations include the Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union, Michigan Fire Inspectors Society, Michigan Fire Service Instructors and the Michigan State Firemen’s Association.

Senate Bill 264 would improve firefighter training standards while leaving in place the ability to take into account the vast differences in the ways our fire services are provided across the state. The bill would ensure clear definitions and roles for all aspects of fire service training and also increase the membership of the Fire Fighters Training Council (FFTC) from seven to nine members.

SB 265 would allow the FFTC the flexibility to fully utilize the funding for firefighter training made available through the fireworks safety fee assessed on the sale of all fireworks in Michigan.

“These measures would permit the council to develop rules and offer certification in specialized areas of the fire service, such as technical rescue, airport rescue and hazardous materials response,” Stamas said. “This is all about giving firefighter training experts the ability to ensure that every Michigan community continues to have trained men and women ready to respond in fire emergencies.”

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Editor’s note: The above photos are available by clicking on the images or by visiting www.SenatorJimStamas.com/Photowire.