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Missions & Goals Maine Fire Protection Services Commission
MFPSC History • Commission to study enhancement of fire protection services throughout the state (“Study Commission”) • Established in 1999 by 119th Legislature • 6 members: • 3 from Legislature (1 Senate, 2 House) • 1 from Maine Fire Chief’s Association • 1 from Professional Firefighters of Maine • 1 from ME State Federation of Firefighters
MFPSC: Study Commission’s Charge… • Make recommendations to Legislature to: • Strengthen the office of State Fire Marshal (SFMO) • Providing incentives for recruiting and retaining volunteer firefighters • Enhancing the safety and reducing health risks to career firefighters • Strengthening fire training and education for firefighters • Meetings, fact finding and consensus, Fall 1999
Study Commission Findings • 12,000 Firefighters, 494 Fire Dept.’s • 4 Fire Dept.’s fully career, 60+combination, 430 volunteer/call • Services complicated by: • Large rural areas • Older population • Lack of mutual aid • Limited resources • Limited work force • ME has one of highest % of vol./call FFer’s in USA • Vol./call FFer’s save ME tax payers estimated $50M per year
Study Commission’s Findings (continued) • F.D. funding level varies widely • Current funding for SFMO & MFT&E is inadequate to meet local needs • FFer’s risks effect recruitment • Regulations and community expectations effect recruitment/ retention (R&R) of vol./call FFer’s • Many vol./call R & R incentives available • Estimated 1/3 of career FFer’s are working past retirement date, primarily due to high cost of health care
Study Commission’s Findings (continued) • Funding for firefighter training: • 17% of F.D’s budget less than $500/year • Nearly ½ of F.D.’s (46%) have less than $5K/year • State spends less than $100/year to train each FF’er, less than 1/2 the amount ($231) to train each police officer • Streamline Haz Mat training funds
Study Commission’s Recommendations (December, 1999) • Increase the Fire Investigation & Prevention Tax to fund SFMO & MFT&E • Provide grants to local communities to support: • Firefighter training • Construction and maintenance of facilities • Increase SFMO fees to reflect actual costs • Cover active and retired career FFer’s with state health care plan
Study Commission’s Recommendations (continued) • Establish a length-of-service benefit program, funded by state general funds, to attract and retain volunteer FFer’s • State funded tobacco money endowment to aid in recruitment of volunteer firefighters • Establish the Maine Fire Protection Services Commission • Strongly endorse the goals and objectives of MFTE strategic plan • Action to improve HazMat training fund process
MFPSC- The “Fire Commission” • State Statute: • Title 5, MRSA Chapter 319 § 3371 • Establish to monitor and evaluate state’s fire protection services and providing recommendations to Legislature • Membership: 21 members from wide range of Legislature, fire service and related fields
Fire Commission Membership State Fire Marshal’s Office Governor’s Appt. State Legislature -ME EMS -Public -Insurance Ind. Maine Forest Service MFT & E UNITED WE STAND ME State Federation of Firefighters Maine Fire Chief’s Association Professional Firefighters of Maine
Fire Commission Responsibilities • Advise Governor, Legislature, ME Forest Service, local F.D’s, and others • Submit annual report to Governor & Legislature • Existing and needed resources • Evaluation of existing strategies and programs • Effective management of resources • Collection and distribution of fire data • Evaluation methodology for fire protection • Recruitment & retention of volunteers • Health care bridge for career firefighters • Death benefit for fire and EMS persons • Needs of SFMO • Need for fire grants for local fire training
Fire Commission Responsibilities (continued) • Develop by-laws • Adopt rules for firefighter training fund • Conduct public hearings for information and feedback • Assist all governmental sources of fire training, education, prevention & protection • Submit legislation
Fire Commission Priorities (2001-2002) • Volunteer/Call Recruitment and Retention • Perform functions within ICS • 24 hours per year of creditable training • 24 hours per year of FD activity • Certified annually by Fire Chief • Standards reviewed every 3 years Goal: state help for local recruitment & retention efforts
Fire Commission Priorities (2001-2002) • Health Care Bridge for Firefighters • Retired Career Firefighters • Normal retirement age to age 65 • Active Career Firefighters • Group plan • All Firefighters • Group plan for retired + active career firefighters and volunteer firefighters, 18 to 65 years old Goal: affordable health coverage
Fire Commission Priorities (2001-2002) • Resources for State Fire Marshal’s Office • Revenues have not kept pace with cost of operations • Criminal cases require tremendous resources • Overtime costs add to funding challenges Goal: resources to meet local needs
Fire Commission Priorities(2001-2002) • Resources for Maine Fire Training & Education • Strengthen fire training and services to local FD’s • Increase availability of free and low-cost training to local communities • Utilize technology to increase training opportunities • Help FD members and citizens to prevent fires and protect themselves Goal: Lower the barriers to training & education
Fire Commission Priorities(2001-2002) • Study Fire & EMS training facilities needs • Survey needs, capabilities, and costs • Establish a plan that meets statewide needs • Centralized State Fire/EMS Academy • Regional facilities • Support for local facilities REPORT TO LEGISLATURE BY: 1/1/02
The Legislative Process Fire Service Consensus Fire Commission report to Legislature Legislative passage Governor’s signature Legislative Committee hearing and actions Enactment Appropriations Committee funding
How You Can Help • Get involved – Give your input • Speak with one voice! • Contact your local legislators • House: 1-800-423-2900 • Senate: 1-800-423-6900 • www.state.me.us/legis • Attend public hearings Get involved and stay informed!
Maine Fire Protection Services Commission Address: Fire Commission c/o State Fire Marshal’s Office 52 State House Station Augusta, Maine 04333 (207)624-8964 email: email@example.com www.state.me.us/DPS/FMO/firecomm KEEP IN TOUCH !!