SECTION 1. Chapter 6A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 18 the following new section:—
Section 18¼. The Executive Office of Public Safety, in consultation with the State Fire Marshal, the Massachusetts Fire Chiefs Association and the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts AFL-CIO-CLC, shall annually promulgate a listing of fire equipment devices and new technologies that are considered vital to the safety, health and welfare of firefighters responding to fire emergencies and other public safety situations. Said list shall indicate the value of the stated equipment with respect to particular emergency situations and shall further detail the number of pieces of equipment recommended based on size of department and population served.
Such list shall be finalized no later than February first of each year and shall include items both vital to maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of department equipment and the personal health and safety of firefighters. This list should focus on minimum needs, recommended apparatus and suggested new technologies that have proven useful in managing and containing fires and protecting the lives of response personnel and victims. Upon completion, the summary list prepared under the provisions of this section shall be forwarded to each local fire chief and the president of the local representative labor organization corresponding with said fire chief’s district.
All local Fire Chiefs, in conjunction with the appropriate representative labor organization corresponding with said fire chief’s district, shall annually audit each department to ascertain whether the department meets the target criteria established in paragraph one of this section. Deficiencies in recommended equipment and the lack of available, suggested technologies in each department shall be reported to the Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and the State Fire Marshal no later than March fifteenth of each year. Said Secretary shall then determine the cost of supplying departments with all equipment necessary to eliminate the deficiencies reported in accordance with this paragraph and shall separately determine the cost of purchasing all suggested equipment local departments have reported as not within their possession. No later than April seventh of each year, said Secretary shall submit the calculation of these costs to the house and senate committees on ways and means and recommend the inclusion of an appropriation within the annual general appropriation act to rectify all deficient conditions at local fire departments and to upgrade departments by providing the latest fire safety equipment.
Subject to appropriation, said secretary shall make targeted grants to local fire departments for the purpose of upgrading the response and safety equipment to meet target criteria established in paragraph one of this section. Such grants will be based on need and the principle of maximizing the available appropriation to account for the greatest improvement in public safety; provided that at least fifty percent of any amount so appropriated is earmarked for distribution to fire departments serving populations under 50,000 residents.
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