DENVER, CO – The House Transportation & Local Government Committee today passed bipartisan legislation to provide volunteer firefighters with more resources and tools to combat wildfires.
“Colorado’s wildfires are becoming more frequent and destructive — it is critical that we invest our firefighters so they have the tools they need to protect our land, homes and lives,” said Rep. Lisa Cutter, D-Littleton. “The work of local fire departments will only become more difficult as climate change continues. So our bipartisan bill provides the funding our local fire departments need to upgrade old equipment, recruit new seasonal firefighters, improve training and address the behavioral health needs of our firefighters.”
Resources For Volunteer Firefighters: SB22-002, sponsored by Representative Lisa Cutter and Perry Will would invest $5 million to better prepare local fire departments and their firefighters for wildfires. Specifically, this bill would make local volunteer fire departments eligible for reimbursement for wildland fire suppression activities, including equipment costs and volunteer firefighter recruitment, training and retention. Local fire departments will also be able to use funds from the Local Firefighter Safety and Disease Prevention Grant Program for the replacement or disposal of damaged or obsolete equipment. The bill also creates the Firefighter Behavioral Health Benefits Trust to provide behavioral health care services to firefighters and paid for by public employers.
SB22-002 passed committee unanimously.
As climate change elevates the threat of destructive wildfires in Colorado, this bill aims to provide funding to Colorado’s local fire departments so they have the resources needed to purchase necessary equipment, train seasonal firefighters and respond safely to wildfires.