One of MACo’s priority legislative initiatives for the 2023 session, SB 414 – Commission to Advance and Strengthen Fire Fighting Within Maryland, has passed the Education, Energy, and the Evironment Committee and is now on its way to the Senate floor.
Maryland’s struggle to recruit and retain fire fighters is intensifying—retirements vastly outstrip the rate at which localities can hire individuals willing and able to serve in fire fighting roles. SB 414 creates a Commission to study best practices in attracting, supporting, and retaining new fire service members and make recommendations to bolster firefighting state-wide.
From the MACo Testimony:
Marylanders benefit from a broad network of firefighting services capable of responding to a wide range of emergencies. For several decades now, recruitment and retention have been on the decline. Once a key part of the connective tissue bringing together communities, working as a career and/or volunteer firefighter has lost its appeal. While Maryland’s fire service is capable of meeting today’s demand, the future looks troubling. Support for these essential first-responders is more important than ever. SB 414 can take a strong step in the right direction and support our firefighting services by analyzing ways to support modern recruitment and retention efforts.
For more on MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2023 legislative session, visit MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.