Bill proposes to move Fire Dept from DPS to Gov’s office
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A bill to establish the Territorial Fire Department (TFD) under the Governor’s Office was introduced in the Senate this week.
The bill, amending Section 4.0301 of the American Samoa Code Annotated (A.S.C.A) and creating Chapter 15 under the Title 4 of the A.S.C.A was introduced by Senate President Gaoteote Palaie Tofau.
According to the preamble of the bill, In order to better educate and equip qualified personnel in the event of a crisis, it is imperative to separate the Fire Department from under the DPS. The duties and responsibilities of a firefighter are many and diverse as the first line of defense to protect communities against hazardous material release of all types and as the first emergency medical responders.
The FD will be able to properly direct its resources to provide effective service delivery in areas of public education, construction, planning strategy, economic development, fire protection systems installation and use, fire investigation, and code enforcement.
To ensure that the required critical tasks are being performed properly and completely, a firefighter must be focused solely on their own responsibilities. Establishing a FD will ensure that the territory will be protected by an entity that will be dedicated to fire suppression, rescue, emergency medical first responder and proper hazardous material response.
A fire chief shall be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Legislature. Unless otherwise provided by contract, the fire chief shall be appointed for an indefinite term. Compensation shall be set according to the fire chief’s qualification and experience.
All insurance policies issued in the territory shall charge an additional $20 for residential motor vehicle and $50 for residential fire/home owners’ policies; $50 for commercial vehicles and $100 for commercial insurance policies. The insurance company issuing the policy shall then submit these funds quarterly to the ASG Treasury Department and deposit these funds in the newly created Enterprise Fund Account.
These funds shall be used to fund all operations of the Fire Department.