Governor Murphy Signs Bill Revising Law Governing Junior Firefighter’s Auxiliary Members

November 20, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Today, Governor Murphy signed the following bill:S-238/A-1106 (Singleton, Sarlo/Murphy, Stanfield, Schaer) – Revises law governing training and duties of Junior Firefighters’ Auxiliary members. 

The Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness
Committee reports favorably Assembly Committee Substitute No.

As reported and amended by the committee, Assembly Committee
Substitute for Assembly No. 1106 revises current law regarding the
Junior Firefighters’ Auxiliary.

Under current law, a person between the ages of 14 and 21 who
obtains permission from a parent or guardian may become a
member of the Junior Firefighters’ Auxiliary with a volunteer fire
department. This committee substitute reduces the age limit for
membership to persons between the ages of 14 and 18.

The committee substitute also allows a fire district, regional
authority, or county in this State that maintains a paid or volunteer
fire department to establish a Junior Firefighters’ Auxiliary. Under
current law, only volunteer fire departments are permitted to
establish a Junior Firefighters’ Auxiliary.

In addition, the committee substitute requires Junior Firefighters’
Auxiliary applicants to be interviewed by officers of the fire
department with a parent or guardian present. Junior Firefighters’
Auxiliary applicants also are required to submit documentation
from a qualified physician verifying that the applicant is medically
able to perform the activities of the auxiliary.

Current labor law provides that minors under the age of 18 are
prohibited from participating in certain work-related tasks, but
allows an exemption for members of the Junior Firefighters’
Auxiliary who are 16 years of age or older and perform authorized
fire-related duties. This committee substitute reduces this age
exemption from 16 to 14 years of age.

The committee substitute also requires entities establishing
Junior Firefighters’ Auxiliaries to provide a minimum amount of
workers’ compensation insurance to auxiliary members who
perform certain duties. Current law requires auxiliary members to
be provided with insurance coverage identical to that provided to
regular members of the fire department or district.

The committee substitute also grants the Commissioner of
Community Affairs authority to promulgate regulations pertaining
to the training of Junior Firefighter Auxiliary members and
establish the duties they may perform at training events and
emergency scenes. The regulations are to become effective
immediately upon being filed with the Office of Administrative
Law and remain in effect for 180 days. Thereafter, the
commissioner is required to amend, adopt, or readopt the
regulations in accordance with “Administrative Procedure Act.”
Finally, the committee substitute replaces the term “firemen”
with the preferred, gender neutral term, “firefighter.”

As reported by the committee, Assembly Committee Substitute
for Assembly No. 1106 is identical to Senate Committee Substitute
for Senate No. 238 which also was amended and reported by the
committee on this date