Guthrie Bill Calls for Safety, Health Standards for RI Fire Departments

Rep. Guthrie is also a retired firefighter.


Rep. Scott J. Guthrie (D-Dist. 28, Coventry) has introduced legislation to require all fire departments in Rhode Island to comply with minimum occupational safety and health standards developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Referred to the House Committee on Municipal Government, the Guthrie bill, 2013-H 5067, would require compliance with, at a minimum, the 1987 version of the NFPA standards and to provide a written plan of implementation to the state fire marshal by January, 2014.

“The NFPA standards were developed to provide a consensus standard for an occupational safety and health program for fire service,” said Representative Guthrie. “The intent of the standard is to provide a framework for a safety and health program for fire departments and other organizations providing similar services.”

“It has been 25 years since the NFPA standards were developed and there is still no minimum standard that has been adopted or implemented by fire departments in Rhode Island,” said Representative Guthrie. “During the last two and a half decades, those standards have been added to and improved, and our fire departments still have not acted to adopt the most minimum standards that were proposed in 1987. That’s pretty sad and it should also be a great concern to every firefighter in this state who is regularly exposed to dangerous situations.”

The legislation would transfer responsibility of enforcement of the standards from the Department of Labor and Training to the Fire Marshal. It would also create a seven-member NFPA 1500 implementation plan review committee, composed of an individual appointed by the RI League of Cities and Towns, two members named by the president of the RI State Association of Fire Fighters, two appointed by the president of the RI Fire Chiefs’ Association (one of whom shall represent a volunteer department); one member of the general public named by the Speaker of the House and one member of the general public appointed by the Senate President.

“The NFPA standards are not an outrageous imposition – financial or otherwise – on our state’s many fire departments,” said Representative Guthrie, a retired firefighter. “They exist for one, very important reason – to ensure that the firefighters in those departments can expect a minimum amount of nationally established safety and health protections, to keep them safe while they are rushing into burning buildings and saving the lives of people in our communities.”

The legislation was introduced as a result of the findings of a commission that Representative Guthrie co-chaired in 2011, the NFPA 1500 Implementation Plan Review Commission in the State of Rhode Island.

Co-sponsors of the bill are Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Portsmouth, Tiverton), Rep. Raymond E. Gallison Jr. (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth), Rep. Raymond H. Johnston Jr. (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket) and Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston).

eye in the sky January 29, 2013 at 03:30 AM
I won't argue with you on that one, Most departments today you have to sign a no smoking clause.
coventry voter-Jay January 29, 2013 at 12:49 PM
I renue my request, RS please tell us the details about the No Smoking policy for your dept. Do all Coventry districts have a no-smoking policy? Which ones do not?
RS January 29, 2013 at 03:54 PM
Jay, I don't work for any Coventry Dept. My dept doesn't have a set policy, it varies Chief to Chief and Mayor to Mayor. I know when I was hired there was a no smoking policy. I do know that more and more depts are adding fitness equipment for the members to use between calls to try to improve heart health. Reguardless of smoking or not, the chemicals we are exposed to wreak havoc on our systems. Not saying I didn't know this before I signed up, just trying to say that I can try to improve my health myself, but I don't think I should have to fight the Town to replace outdated air packs and turnout gear. The NFPA standards my Guthrie is talking about set standards for things like replacement schedules on these items.
Gorman no saint March 21, 2013 at 08:25 PM
The fix is in, right Guthrie. Are you going to threaten Kettle at the next meeting ? You did a great job telling him to sit down and shut up, I'd better not hear you or I will run against you next time ! Was a fire fighter will always vote for the fire fighter, he could care less about the real tax payer. You must be related to Gorman !
Gorman no saint March 21, 2013 at 08:27 PM
He has that ridiculous mustache so you can't see his grin while he is screwing you !


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »