STATEHOUSE – House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1325, which addresses mobile disaster relief funding, was signed into law today by Governor Pence. State Representative Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) authored the measure.
Henryville was devastated by a tornado in March 2012. With their fellow Hoosiers in need, firefighters from across the state responded to the scene. There was not a state funding mechanism at that time to pay for the overtime that these first responders were working. Consequentially, local departments had to absorb the cost of paying these firefighters for their overtime work. Local departments also had to absorb the cost of paying back-up firefighters to replace those who responded to Henryville.
“As a retired firefighter, I understand the negative impact that these costs can have on local fire departments,” said Frye. “Public safety officials take pride in serving their own community, but they are also willing to answer the call and assist other communities when they are in need. Money is not the motivating factor of service, but it is necessary in order to deploy first responders to a distant crisis while also providing coverage for the local municipality.”
HEA 1325 allows that the State Disaster Relief Fund may now be used to pay first responders. The legislation also provides funds for local departments to bring in backup firefighters to replace those who responded to a disaster.
“Hoosiers are the type of people who will not hesitate to give the shirt off their back to someone in need,” said Rep. Frye. “Unfortunately, the tremendous cost of responding to distant crises was causing local departments to second-guess whether or not they could afford to deploy. The enactment of HEA 1325 will allow our heroes respond to disasters without a single pause.”
Rep. Frye (R-Greensburg) represents Ohio and Switzerland counties, as well as portions of Ripley, Decatur, Jennings, Jefferson and Dearborn counties