Dozens of firefighters were on hand as the Iowa House approved a bill which would shift profits from the sale of special firefighter license plates to training programs for firefighters. The Iowa Firemen’s Association took its “mobile fire training trailer” to the statehouse yesterday as part of its lobbying effort. Larry Huegerich (hyoog’-rich), the chief of the volunteer fire department in Fonda, was one of the first to suit up and step inside the two-story trailer that simulates the conditions of an actual house fire. Iowa Firemen’s Association vice president Brian Platz says the state needs to do something to provide more money for fire fighter training. He hopes some of the money that might be raised with the income tax credit would be spent on more of the mobile training units. The Iowa Firemen’s Association is also pressing for a tax credit for volunteer fire fighters as well as a “check-off” on state income tax forms which would help raise money for equipment, and Platz says fire departments need more than just a truck. Platz says in addition to the “big red truck,” fire departments need equipment for search and rescue missions, equipment to deal with hazardous material spills and ambulances. The bill that directs fire fighter license plate fees to training programs cleared the House yesterday and must clear the Senate and get the Governor’s approval before it becomes law. The move would raise about 28-thousand dollars for fire fighter training each year.
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