Today in the Governor’s Reception Room of the West Virginia State Capitol, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin conducted a ceremonial signing of House Bill 4107 – the Volunteer Firefighters Training Bill. Witness to the signing were members Tom Miller, Glen Whittington, John Holstein, Sam Love, Paul Gill and President Jim Oldaker of the West Virginia State Firemen’s Association, Delegates Josh Stowers and Greg Butcher of the WV House of Delegates and other dignitaries. Tom Miller states: “…This bill will bring fire service training in the State of West Virginia into the 21rst Century and will allow firefighters and first responders to take valuable courses without having to travel long distances and/or spend more time away from their families. The increased access to training opportunities will improve firefighter safety and improve the public safety services provided to the citizens of West Virginia. On behalf of the entire membership of the West Virginia State Fireman’s Association we would like to formally thank the Legislature and Governor Tomblin for the unanimous passage of Senate Bill 213 / House Bill 4107 in both the Senate and the House of Delegates.” By signing this bill, firefighters all across the State of West Virginia will be allowed to take modularized training in a blended learning environment, saving tax payer dollars and allowing these firefighters to take classes on their own schedule. We anticipate this type of environment to be a positive development tool for up and coming volunteers.
Coupled with the unanimous passage of HB 4107 was the unanimous passage of Senate Bill 343 – providing volunteer and part-volunteer fire departments’ a grace period to meet eligibility for certain funds allocation.
Through the 2012 Legislative session, we have seen proof positive of a combined effort between the leaders of the volunteer fire service community and State Government to work together in order to achieve positive results. We look forward to working with the Legislature and the Administration in the upcoming Interim Committee meetings and the 2013 session to acquire a permanent solution to our Worker’s Compensation issue.
The West Virginia State Firemen’s Association would like to thank everyone involved in the process to get this legislation passed. Without the help of all members involved in the Association, it would not be possible to achieve such success.