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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE CREATION OF THE COMMONWEALTH TECHNICAL RESCUE REGIONS AND COORDINATING COUNCIL.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:

 

SECTION 1.  Chapter 22D of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-

Section 6. (a) The secretary of public safety and security and the state fire marshal, in consultation with the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts and the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts, Inc., shall divide the commonwealth into technical rescue regions; provided that the secretary of public safety and security may amend the number of such regions as needed. Each technical rescue region shall provide for the organization and coordination of technical rescue services and training, the acquisition of technical rescue equipment and the receipt and distribution of funds. 

(b) There shall be in the department of fire services, but not under its control, a technical rescue coordinating council that shall provide overall coordination of the technical rescue regions. The council shall consist of: the secretary of public safety and security or a designee; the state fire marshal or a designee; and 5 members to be appointed by the governor, 2 of whom shall be members of the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts, Inc., 2 of whom shall be members of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts and 1 of whom shall be selected from a list comprised of 1 nominee from each regional technical rescue region who is a member of a regional technical rescue team and selected by such team’s leadership. The governor shall appoint members for a term of 3 years and any such member shall be eligible for reappointment. A person shall not receive compensation for service as a member of the council but may receive reimbursement for all expenses necessarily incurred in connection with the member’s official duties.

The majority of the council shall constitute a quorum to conduct business but a lesser number may adjourn from time to time. The council shall annually elect a chair and vice-chair from among its members. The department of fire services may, subject to appropriation, furnish reasonable staff and other support for the work of the council.

(c) The council shall develop uniform standards, rules and procedures for the operation of a statewide regional technical rescue services program and shall assist in the coordination of all persons and agencies concerned with technical rescue services.

(d) The council shall establish cost recovery mechanisms for technical rescue services provided within a technical rescue region; provided, however, that there shall be no cost recovery if: (i) the party responsible for creating the need for technical rescue services is a resident of the commonwealth; (ii) the conduct that necessitated technical rescue services was not commercial in nature; and (iii) the conduct that necessitated technical rescue services was not unlawful or reckless.

(e) The council may collect funds on behalf of a technical rescue region and shall deposit said funds into the Technical Rescue Services Fund, established in section 2ZZZZ of chapter 29. 

(f) A member of a regional technical rescue team performing official team duties, including, but not limited to, emergency response, rescue stand by, training, equipment maintenance and meetings, shall be considered to be on duty for the member’s respective fire department and covered under section 111F of chapter 41 and any other law applicable to on-duty injury, illness or death of a firefighter.

(g) The department of fire services, in consultation with the technical rescue coordinating council, may promulgate regulations to implement this section. 

SECTION 2. Chapter 29 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 2YYYY, inserted by section 8 of chapter 110 of the acts of 2017, the following section:-

Section 2ZZZZ. There shall be a Technical Rescue Services Fund. The fund shall be administered by the technical rescue coordinating council established under section 6 of chapter 22D. The fund shall consist of: (i) compensation received under a contract including, but not limited to, a contract with a company that designates a member fire department as a stand-by rescue team in order to meet the requirements established by the federal United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration under 29 C.F.R. 1910; (ii) funds collected pursuant to a cost recovery mechanism established in subsection (d) of said section 6 of said chapter 22D; (iii) federal, state or private gifts, grants, donations or appropriations; (iv) funds from any other public or private sources; and (v) interest earned on such funds. 

Amounts credited to the fund shall not be subject to further appropriation and shall be expended for: (i) the maintenance and operation of technical rescue regions established under section 6 of chapter 22D; (ii) the provision of technical rescue services; (iii) the acquisition and maintenance of technical rescue equipment; and (iv) the provision of initial and in-service training to regional technical rescue personnel including, but not limited to, payment of backfill and overtime for personnel participating in such training. Amounts credited to the fund that are unexpended at the end of a fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund and shall be available for expenditure in the following fiscal year. An expenditure shall not be made from the fund if it would cause the fund to become deficient at the end of any fiscal year. 

The technical rescue coordinating council, established pursuant to section 6 of chapter 22D, shall, annually, report to the secretary of public safety and security not later than June 30. The report shall include, but not be limited to, an accounting of all funds received and distributed as authorized by this section. 

SECTION 3. Notwithstanding section 6 of chapter 22D of the General Laws, the secretary of public safety and security and the state fire marshal, in consultation with the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts and the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts, Inc., shall initially divide the commonwealth into 5 technical rescue regions.

SECTION 4. This act shall take effect on December 1, 2018.

 

Approved, August 9, 2018.