Authorizes a municipality to contract for the assistance of a volunteer wilderness/inland search and rescue team for the purpose of locating and rescuing an individual or individuals; provides that such a municipality shall not be liable to the team or its members.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general municipal law, in relation to authorizing a municipality to contract for the assistance of a volunteer wilderness/inland search and rescue team
PURPOSE: To define a Volunteer Search and Rescue Worker as an individual trained and certified by the Department of Environmental Conservation. Also to expand the existing definition of Specialized Rescue Team to include teams with members of Volunteer Search and Rescue Teams.
SUMMARY: Section 1 amends section 209-bb of the general municipal law to add volunteer wilderness/inland search and rescue teams to the list of specialized teams authorized for municipal-wide or intermunicipal service by resolution of the municipality's governing body.
Section 1 also adds a new part 2 to section 209-bb of the general municipal law in order to define volunteer wilderness/inland search and rescue teams and team members, authorize municipalities to contract with such teams, and provide liability protections for municipalities.
Section 2 provides for the immediate enactment of this bill.
JUSTIFICATION: There are more than 26 professional Search and Rescue teams in New York State. Federal and State agencies recognize the importance of the roles that Wilderness/Inland Search and Rescue teams have in emergency service and now include them in local, State, and Federal emergency plans. They also serve a critical role in safeguarding some of our most vulnerable citizens with dementia and developmental disabilities.
These teams serve their communities alongside fire, ambulance, law enforcement, and other emergency services groups but without the same recognition under current law.
This bill will allow those teams to be formed by resolution of, or contract with a municipality, while at the same time ensuring municipalities are protected from liability.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S.7751 of 2010 - Referred to Local Governments S.3552 of 2011 - Passed Senate
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to state.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ S. 3552--A A. 5668--A Cal. No. 580 2011-2012 Regular Sessions S E N A T E - A S S E M B L Y February 25, 2011 ___________IN SENATE -- Introduced by Sens. RITCHIE, AVELLA, DeFRANCISCO, GALLIVAN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Local Government -- recommitted to the Committee on Local Government in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- reported favorably from said committee and committed to the Committee on Finance -- reported favorably from said committee, ordered to first and second report, ordered to a third reading, amended and ordered reprinted, retaining its place in the order of third reading IN ASSEMBLY -- Introduced by M. of A. MAGEE, TENNEY, GIGLIO, OAKS, McDO- NOUGH, MURRAY, GRAF, BRINDISI -- read once and referred to the Commit- tee on Local Governments -- recommitted to the Committee on Local Governments in accordance with Assembly Rule 3, sec. 2 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the general municipal law, in relation to authorizing a municipality to contract for the assistance of a volunteer wilderness/inland search and rescue team THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 209-bb of the general municipal law, as amended by chapter 482 of the laws of 1997, is amended to read as follows: S 209-bb. Specialized teams; VOLUNTEER WILDERNESS/INLAND SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAMS. 1. A. By resolution, after a public hearing the governing body of each county, city and town is authorized, respectively, to establish, maintain and supervise municipal-wide and inter-municipal specialized teams.
[2.]B. Counties, cities and towns are authorized to appropriate and expend such sums as are deemed necessary to establish and maintain specialized teams pursuant to this section.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD08754-02-2 S. 3552--A 2 A. 5668--A
[3.]C. Municipalities and organizations that insure volunteer fire- fighters, volunteer ambulance workers or municipal employees, as the term "employee" is defined under section eighteen of the public officers law, may extend such insurance coverage to members of a specialized team by resolution. [4.]D. For the purposes of this section, "specialized teams" shall mean any emergency team or squad composed of volunteer firefighters, volunteer ambulance workers or municipal employees, who shall have attained the minimum level of training or experience to meet qualifying standards established by the office of fire prevention and control, and which is administered by the state, a county, city or town for the purposes of training for or responding to a man made or natural disaster by carrying out any activities which are within the relevant training and expertise of such municipal employees or are authorized pursuant to the volunteer firefighters' benefit law or the volunteer ambulance work- ers' benefit law but which are not normally provided by such entities. 2. A. THE GOVERNING BODY OF EACH COUNTY, CITY, TOWN AND VILLAGE IS AUTHORIZED, RESPECTIVELY, TO CONTRACT FOR THE ASSISTANCE OF A VOLUNTEER WILDERNESS/INLAND SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM FOR THE PURPOSE OF LOCATING AND RESCUING AN INDIVIDUAL OR INDIVIDUALS. B. NO MUNICIPALITY SHALL BE LIABLE FOR THE INJURY, DEATH OR DAMAGE TO A VOLUNTEER WILDERNESS/INLAND SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM OR ITS MEMBERS OCCURRING DURING THE PERFORMANCE OF THE ACTIVITIES AUTHORIZED BY THIS SECTION. SUCH TEAM AND ITS MEMBERS SHALL INDEMNIFY AND HOLD HARMLESS THE MUNICIPALITY THAT CONTRACTED FOR ASSISTANCE WITH SUCH VOLUNTEER WILDERNESS/INLAND SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION AGAINST ANY CLAIM OF LIABILITY FOR ANY INJURY, DEATH OR PROPERTY DAMAGE THAT MAY OCCUR AS A RESULT OF AN ACT OF SUCH TEAM AND ITS MEMBERS, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ANY INDEMNITY PAID, ATTORNEYS' FEES, COSTS AND LITIGATION EXPENSES. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT APPLY WHEN THE MUNICIPALITY HAS ENGAGED IN WILLFUL MISCONDUCT, GROSS NEGLIGENCE OR RECKLESSNESS. C. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "VOLUNTEER WILDERNESS/INLAND SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM" OR "TEAM" SHALL MEAN AN ORGANIZATION: WHOSE MEMBERS HAVE OBTAINED A MINIMUM LEVEL OF TRAINING OR EXPERIENCE AS MAY BE ESTAB- LISHED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION'S OFFICE OF PUBLIC PROTECTION; THAT IS FORMED FOR THE PURPOSE OF LOCATING AND RESCU- ING, OR RECOVERING, A KNOWN INDIVIDUAL OR KNOWN INDIVIDUALS, IN AN UNKNOWN LOCATION, WHOSE SAFETY MAY BE THREATENED BY CONDITIONS RELATED TO THE ENVIRONMENT OR OTHER FACTORS; THAT IS INCORPORATED UNDER THE LAWS OF NEW YORK STATE; AND THAT OPERATES NOT FOR PECUNIARY PROFIT OR FINAN- CIAL GAIN. D. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "VOLUNTEER WILDERNESS/INLAND SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM MEMBER" SHALL MEAN AN ACTIVE VOLUNTEER MEMBER OF A VOLUNTEER SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM WHO MEETS THE MINIMUM LEVEL OF TRAIN- ING OR EXPERIENCE PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH C OF THIS SUBDIVISION AND IS SPECIFIED ON A LIST REGULARLY MAINTAINED BY THE VOLUNTEER WILDERNESS/INLAND SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM. SUCH LIST SHALL BE PROVIDED TO A REQUESTING MUNICIPALITY. IN ADDITION, FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, A VOLUNTEER WILDERNESS/INLAND SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM MEMBER SHALL BE AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR AND SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED AN OFFICER OR EMPLOY- EE OF THE CONTRACTING MUNICIPALITY. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.