Zorn outlines need for firefighter certification bill

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LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Wednesday urged the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee to support his legislation to provide firefighter certification reciprocity with states that have the same certification as Michigan.

“This legislation was the result of conversations I had with several fire chiefs and local officials that recruiting and retaining firemen in local fire departments was both difficult and expensive,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Michigan currently does not recognize out-of-state firefighter certification, and this simple change will make a big difference in helping staff all fire departments at appropriate levels and reduce the cost of certifying firefighters who come from other states.”

Senate Bill 372 would require the state fire marshal to extend reciprocity certification to a firefighter from another state who seeks to work as a firefighter in Michigan, as long as the individual was certified in the other state after completing a program that meets or exceeds Michigan’s standards.

Midland Fire Department Chief Chris Coughlin, representing the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs, joined Zorn in urging support of the bill.

“We have run into a roadblock in hiring firefighters from out-of-state who are well-qualified and certified according to the National Fire Protection Association standards,” Coughlin said. “These are firefighters who have met certification standards in other states that meet, and often exceed, our own.”

The Senate Regulatory Reform Committee unanimously approved the bill, which now heads to the full Senate for consideration. The measure is supported by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the Michigan Municipal League and the Michigan Township Association.

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Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the Zorn’s website at www.SenatorDaleZorn.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.