New Jersey's 23rd Legislative District

Senator Michael Doherty

Senator Mike Doherty

Doherty & Cardinale Bill to Bolster Ranks of Volunteer Firefighters Clears Senate

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The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senator Mike Doherty and Senator Gerald Cardinale that would allow more firefighters to qualify for membership in the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association (NJSFA) and earn exempt firefighter certificates.

The Senate approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Mike Doherty and Sen. Gerald Cardinale that would allow more firefighters to qualify for membership in the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association and earn exempt firefighter certificates. (Pixabay)

Firefighters could begin their time with the fire service at a later age under the bill, S-1634, which would increase the maximum eligibility age to benefit from membership from 45 to 57.

“Firefighters are essential assets for our communities,” said Doherty (R-23). “The dedication and commitment of volunteer firefighters is not age-related, and the current age limits fail to reflect today’s realities. By expanding the age requirements, we can attract more dedicated candidates to the fire service to help keep our towns and cities safe.”

Under current law, firefighters are required to join the fire service between the ages of 18 and 45 in order to be eligible for an exempt fireman certificate.  To qualify, firefighters must meet specific performance standards, including responding to a minimum of 60 percent of the fire duty calls in each year of a seven-year period.

“Membership in the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association is a badge of honor for volunteers and professional firefighters who have selflessly dedicated their time to the fire service,” said Cardinale (R-39). “This adjustment will make it more attractive for people to answer the alarm and serve their community as firefighters who are willing to put the demands of neighborhood and the fire company above their own.”

Among the benefits available to members, the nonprofit NJSFA provides burial benefits and relief assistance to qualified firefighters and their dependents, based on the length of firefighter service with a maximum payment of $12,000 for a fully qualified member.

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