Senate approves Stamas’ firefighter training bills

Sen. Jim Stamas

Sen. Jim Stamas

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

“Michigan firefighters perform a valiant service in our communities every day — risking their lives to save others,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “This legislation is about ensuring our firefighters are prepared to meet new and existing challenges they will face as they protect our communities.

“We have been working with the Fire Services Coalition to improve our state firefighter training standards, which have not been updated in more than 30 years.”

Midland Fire Department Chief Chris Coughlin testified in April 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.

“Under these bills, the council would be allowed 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. “It is all part of an effort to give firefighter training experts the ability to ensure that every Michigan community continues to have trained men and women ready to respond in fire emergencies.”

SBs 264 and 265 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.