Some larger fire departments receive grants to upgrade their equipment, leaving them with the problem of how to dispose of used equipment that still may be in good working order. Donating to smaller departments is problematic because of the possible liability issue. So some departments simply mothball the equipment and some ship it to other countries.

Rep. Tara Mack (R-Apple Valley) and Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove) sponsor a new law that will extend civil immunity to a municipality that donates vehicles and equipment used in firefighting, ambulance and emergency medical treatment services, rescue and hazardous materials response.

The issue of concern to city officials is that equipment exposed to high heat situations may not perform as expected and the donating government jurisdiction could be held liable.