Legislation advances to provide volunteer firefighters with $600 training stipend

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(NASHVILLE) – Legislation co-sponsored by Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) to aid volunteer firefighters is headed for a final vote in the Tennessee Senate after it was approved by the Finance, Ways and Means Committee this week. Senate Bill 778 would provide an annual $600 payment upon completion of at least 30 hours of training.

“I am delighted that this bill is headed to the Senate floor for final approval,” said Sen. Yager, who has worked to provide the supplement payment for the past several General Assemblies.  “It is a well-deserved payment to help these firefighters with expenses they incur as they put their lives on the line for our communities.”

The majority of Tennessee’s firefighters, 64%, are volunteers.  Currently, the cost of any training or equipment is often at their own expense.  The $4.92 million cost for the annual volunteer firefighter training payment is funded in Governor Bill Lee’s 2021-2022 budget proposal.

Yager said Governor Lee’s budget also includes $1 million to provide support grants for volunteer firefighter departments under a program set up by legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2019.  That legislation will also be considered on final approval in the coming week.

The Volunteer Firefighter Equipment and Training Grant Program was established to better equip volunteer firefighter departments to serve their communities and reduce fire fatalities, including those incurred by firefighters.

“Our volunteer firefighters are true heroes,” added Sen. Yager.  “We will continue to look for ways to make their jobs easier and to recruit additional volunteers as they protect our homes and our lives.”

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