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Girgenti Bill To Improve Emergency Response Efforts Advances

Senator John A. Girgenti (D-Passaic and Bergen)

Would Expand Authority of Local Emergency Management in Requesting Assistance

TRENTON – The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Senator John Girgenti, D-Passaic and Bergen, to give municipal emergency management coordinators the authority to request assistance from police, fire, ambulance and rescue squads located in another municipality.

“We need to provide our local emergency personnel with the tools necessary to coordinate a swift and appropriate level of response to an emergency or a disaster, should one strike,” said Senator Girgenti, Law and Public Safety Committee chairman. “First responders cannot have their hands tied when answering the call of duty. Their safety, and that of our residents, is at stake.”

Mayors and chief executive officers of municipalities, as well as local police, fire or rescue squad chiefs, or their designees, are currently authorized to request assistance from emergency personnel in nearby communities. The bill, S-501, would extend that authority to municipal emergency management coordinators.

The legislation would also require that injury and death benefits for municipal emergency management coordinators follow them to other municipalities in the unfortunate event an incident occurs while responding to an emergency in a nearby city or town.

“The men and women who put their lives on the line for our safety and security should be assured that they will be protected in the event of an injury, and that their families will be covered should the unthinkable occur,” said Senator Girgenti. “This is common-sense bill that will go far in protecting our residents, emergency personnel and their loved ones.”

The measure was approved Thursday by a vote of 5-0. It now heads to the Senate President who decides if and when to post it for a full Senate vote.