Sanders Praises Passage of Firefighter Training Legislation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Mike Sanders
Office: (405) 557-7407

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Mike Sanders today praised House lawmakers for their passage of legislation that will better define the levels of firefighter training that are eligible for existing earned tax credits. Volunteer firefighters are eligible to receive tax credits for training on their own time.

House Bill 1835 adopts the “5 Levels of Firefighter” developed by the Council on Firefighter Training (COFT) Training Task Force, which is made up of both volunteer and paid firefighters of different ranks across the state.

“This legislation expands the training opportunities for volunteer and paid firefighters in Oklahoma,” said Sanders, R-Kingfisher. “For the first time in our state’s history, the Oklahoma Fire Service will have progressive guidelines for training. When firefighters from different fire departments respond together under mutual aide as they did for the recent wildfires, they will be trained to the same levels and be better prepared to help our citizens. House Bill 1853 also gives the local fire chief more input in the training his or her fire department receives.”

Sanders said training also ensures fewer deaths and injuries among firefighters and our citizens.

“In 2008 and 2009, Oklahoma was ranked third per capita in line-of-duty firefighter deaths,” Sanders said. “The number of deaths was reduced significantly in 2010 through ‘Stop Firefighter Deaths’ awareness campaigns also developed by the Council on Firefighter Training. I believe consistent, progressive training will continue to reduce firefighter deaths. I also think it will prevent damage to homes and businesses, which attracts both residents and new business to the state, especially in rural areas.”

House Bill 1835 passed by a unanimous vote and now proceeds to the Senate for consideration.

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