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Bill To Aid Colorado Volunteer Fire Departments Progresses

firefighter gear

A Colorado bill aimed at helping volunteer fire departments organize and get funding has already cleared the House and is progressing in the Senate. 

HB 1017 would create the Volunteer Fire Department Organization Act.  

It would help non-governmental, not-for-profit volunteer fire departments gain official recognition and make them eligible to receive state funding.  

Fire departments that are part of fire protection districts in the state can be staffed by a mix of employees and volunteers. These governmental departments receive tax support and can get state assistance. 

However, nongovernmental volunteer fire departments in Colorado don’t get that support.

Paul Cooke, the director of the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, said the bill would help those departments get assistance.

"What this bill does is encouraged those departments to register their departments, to identify what their service area is [and] give us contact information on how to reach them," he said. "And, if they are recognized then they are eligible for the state assistance grant funding."

Cooke estimates there are up 60 volunteer fire departments across Colorado that this bill could help including outfits in Ridgeway, Norwood and Paradox.

The legislation is sponsored by Representatives Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, and Perry Buck, R-Windsor, and Republican Sen. Ellen Roberts of Durango. 

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