H. B. 4029
(By Delegate Staggers)
[Introduced January 12, 2012; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary then Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §29-3-9 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to training requirements of certain members of volunteer fire departments.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §29-3-9 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3. FIRE PREVENTION AND CONTROL ACT.
§29-3-9. Powers, duties and authority of State Fire Commission and State Fire Marshal.
(a) The State Fire Commission may employ personnel, fix their compensation and, within funds available to do so, incur expenses as necessary in the performance of the duties of its office.
(b) The State Fire Commission is responsible for fire programs within this state, including the State Fire Marshal's office, training, uniform standards and certification, finance and planning and fire prevention.
© All state and area training and education in fire service shall be coordinated by the State Fire Commission. The State Fire Marshal shall ensure that these programs are operated throughout the state at a level consistent with needs identified by the commissioner.
(d) The State Fire Commission shall develop minimum training levels for firefighters, minimum levels of equipment needed to protect life and property within fire service areas, minimum performance standards the departments must meet in response times, communications, minimum levels of water flow and pressure and other performance measures as considered necessary to meet the overall goals of improved fire prevention and control. The State Fire Commission may make recommendations to the State Insurance Commissioner regarding town classifications for fire insurance rates.
(e) The formation of any new fire department, including volunteer fire departments, requires the concurrence of the State Fire Commission. The State Fire Commission shall develop a method of certification which can be applied to all fire departments and volunteer fire departments.
(f) The State Fire Commission shall develop a plan for fire prevention and control which shall include, but not be limited to, the following areas: Manpower needs; location of training centers; location of fire prevention and control units; communications; firefighting facilities; water sources; vehicular needs; public education and information; public participation; standardization in record keeping; evaluation of personnel; reporting of fire hazards; programs on mutual aid; location of public safety agencies; outline of fire prevention programs; and accessibility of fire prevention information.
(g) The State Fire Commission shall establish fire protection areas and at such times as funds are available shall establish field offices for inspection, planning and certification.
(h) The State Fire Marshal may accept, on behalf of the State Fire Commission, gifts, grants, court ordered civil forfeiture proceedings and bequests of funds or property from individuals, foundations, corporations, the federal government, governmental agencies and other organizations or institutions. The State Fire Marshal, acting on behalf of the State Fire Commission, may enter into, sign and execute any agreements and do and perform any acts that may be necessary, useful, desirable or convenient to effectuate the purposes of this article. Moneys from gifts, grants, civil forfeiture proceedings and bequests received by the State Fire Marshal shall be deposited into the special account set forth in subsection ©, section twelve-b of this article, and the State Fire Marshal, with the approval of the State Fire Commission, has the authority to make expenditures of, or use of any tangible property, in order to effectuate the purposes of this article.
(I) The State Fire Commission shall establish standards and procedures by policy to implement the provisions of this section with regard to the following:
(1) Fire prevention and control;
(2) Uniform standards of performance, equipment and training;
(4) Training and education in fire service; and
(5) Training and education for Fire Officers I and II of volunteer fire departments may, at their option, include classes totaling forty hours necessary for certification. Those members have the additional option of taking hazardous materials training and first aid training at times separate from all other required training; and
(5) (6) The creation, operation and responsibilities of fire departments throughout the state.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to permit certain members of volunteer fire departments to take only forty hours of necessary firefighter training. The bill also permits those firefighters to take hazardous materials training and first aid training separately from all other required training.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.