(BIVN) – The office of Hawaiʻi State Representative Chris Todd (D-3) on Thursday shared a news release about House Bill 57, which would provide adequate compensation to injured volunteer first responders. From the news release:
HB57 HD1 seeks to compensate volunteers, who are injured or killed in the line of duty, with an equivalent pay rate based on years of service and rank, rather than a standard rate of pay. This would include enforcement and service workers such as injured public board members, reserve police officers, police chaplains, sheriffs’ chaplains, volunteer firefighters, volunteer boating enforcement officers, or volunteer conservation and resources enforcement officers.
“This measure will ensure that volunteer first responders can get the same monetary benefits that a regular first responder would get in case of an injury, which would go a long way in covering the costs of potentially expensive treatment,” said Representative Todd.
In April 2021, a volunteer firefighter was gravely injured after falling into a lava tube filled with burning embers while battling a brushfire in Honuʻapo, along the southern coast of the Kaʻu district. Her injuries resulted in severe medical costs.
“HB57 HD1 and SB696 SD1 are steps forward to support our volunteer firefighters,” said Senator Herbert M. “Tim” Richards III (D-4, North Hilo, Hāmākua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, North Kona). “On Hawai‘i Island we have 21 full-time fire stations with 18 more volunteers. Our volunteers are integral parts of our firefighting capability. The least we can do is help support them if they get hurt in the line of work. This will help all volunteer firefighters statewide.”
Currently, HB57 HD1 has passed both the House Committee on Labor & Government Operations (LGO) and the House Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce (CPC.) It now awaits a hearing in the House Committee on Finance (FIN.)
SB696 SD1 passed both the Senate Committee on Labor and Technology (LBT), Public Safety and Intergovernmental and Military Affairs (PSM) and now awaits a hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means (WAM).
For more information, please contact Representative Todd at (808) 586-8480.