California Volunteer Fire Departments Must Comply with Cal-OSHA Standards

Yreka, CA, December 11, 2001-Two pieces of state legislation here have made it difficult for volunteer fire companies here to comply with current standards without substantially burdening their finances.

SB1207 was passed on October 18 and includes volunteer firefighters under California Code of Regulations, Title 8 (Cal-OSHA). Prior to passage of this bill, volunteer firefighre were exempt from its provisions because they are not employees under the California Occupational Safety and Health Act.

AB1127 was signed into law in October, 1999. With the passage of this legislation, labor code sections were modified and opens up volunteer fire companies to fines of up to $25,000 per safety violation. Officials state that many volunteer fire departments are only marginally equipped with regards to safety equipment. They claim that requiring volunteer fire companies to meet the standard presents a sizeable financial burden, but that failure to meet the standard will cause government entities and their supervisors to by civilly liable in the event of a preventable accident.

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