§15A-11-9. Volunteer firefighters’ training and equipment.

(a) The State Fire Commission shall maintain oversight and authority over training, equipment requirements, and performance standards for volunteer fire departments and its members, establishing and maintaining said requirements pursuant to legislative rule, in accordance with the provisions of §29A-3-1 et seq. of this code, to establish training requirements for firefighters which:

(1) Provide for:

(A) Minimum training levels for rescue and firefighting;

(B) Minimum levels of equipment needed to protect life and property within fire service areas;

(C) Minimum performance standards the departments must meet in response times, communications, levels of water flow, and pressure; and

(D) Other performance measures as considered necessary to meet the overall goals of improved fire prevention and control;

(2) Allow the training to be offered in segments, blocks, or modules: Provided, That no firefighter may engage in firefighting activities, except in response to wildland fires, until he or she has completed all firefighter one training: Provided, however, That support members may provide ancillary assistance to firefighters as defined by the rule;

(3) Provide for online training;

(4) Allow testing to be done in person or online; and

(5) Establish the testing requirements which include:

(A) If the individual is required to test in person, then the tests must be given regionally at various times throughout the year; or

(B) If the individual is authorized to test online, then the requirements for online testing must be established.

(b) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, the State Fire Commission may establish or continue a pilot project program which implements changes to standards imposed on volunteer firefighting that address problems facing volunteer fire departments in the state, including issues related to training, recruitment, and retention.

(1) The State Fire Commission may limit the number of participating volunteer fire departments in the pilot project program.

(2) The State Fire Commission shall set the rules and conditions for participating volunteer fire departments by policies adopted and ratified by the commission.

(3) On July 1 of each year, the State Fire Commission shall annually provide a full summary report of the status of the program to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.