Press Release
Senator Mike Doherty Senator Mike Doherty (R-23)
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Contact: Robbie Kenney / (609) 847-3600
December 11, 2020
Panel Approves Doherty & Cardinale Firefighter Legislation

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Loosens Age Restrictions for Entering Fire Service

Firefighters could begin their time with the fire service at a later age under legislation advanced today by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee and sponsored by Senator Mike Doherty and Senator Gerald Cardinale.

Sen. Mike Doherty and Sen. Gerald Cardinale sponsor legislation that would allow firefighters to begin their time with the fire service at a later age. (Pixabay)

The legislation, S-1634, would raise the maximum eligibility age for exempt fireman certificates and membership in the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association (NJSFA).

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

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

Doherty and Cardinale’s legislation would increase the maximum starting age 12 years, from 45 to 57.

“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,” said Cardinale (R-39). “Membership in the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association is a badge of honor for volunteers who have selflessly dedicated their time to the fire service.”

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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