NEW JERSEY – Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield and Assemblyman Parker Space’s bill (A1106) requiring the director of fire safety to publicize regulations to train Junior Firefighter Auxiliary members passed an Assembly committee Monday.
“We must ensure junior firefighters are aware of all the regulations put in place to keep them safe,” Stanfield (R-Burlington) said. “We will produce the next generation of firefighters in the safest way possible by allowing the director of fire safety to promote and regulate training.”
The director would also have the ability to establish the duties of the members during a training event or emergency.
“It’s apparent the current law needs to be updated,” Space (R-Sussex) said. “Junior firefighters provide key support for the volunteer fire departments in our region and need hands-on training. You’ve got to keep the kids engaged in the firefighting aspect. If not, they’re not going to join.”
There are an estimated 29,705 fire departments in the United States. Sixty-four percent of the departments are comprised of all volunteer firefighters with 3 percent of those volunteers being under the age of 19.
“We need to make this a top priority,” Stanfield said. “We need firefighters, but we also need to make sure our youngest volunteers are protected while they learn to protect us.”