(April 5) – A bill by Reps. Tony Exum, Sr., and Brittany Pettersen to extend a grant program for local and volunteer fire departments earned final approval from the House this morning with a 47-17 vote.

“This bill assists firefighters throughout Colorado with getting the safety equipment and training that they need to do their jobs to keep us safe,” said Rep. Exum, a former firefighter and battalion chief in Colorado Springs for over 35 years. “In communities across the state, firefighters really depend on this program to help them purchase equipment that keeps them safe—for example, gear that helps them breathe or an extractor that removes carcinogens from their equipment.”

“This is an important step towards ensuring our firefighters have the updated gear and equipment they need,” said Rep. Pettersen, whose brother is a firefighter. “Firefighters are putting their lives on the line to keep us safe. We owe it to them to do our part.”

HB17-1278 continues the Local Firefighter Safety and Diseases Prevention Fund, a merit-based grant fund managed by the Division of Fire Prevention and Control that was created by law in 2014. The fund awards need-based grants for equipment and training designed to increase firefighter safety and prevent occupational diseases. The $1 million in revenue each year will come from proceeds from the growth in insurance tax premiums due to an increase in the state’s population.

The bill now proceeds to the Senate.

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