HARRISBURG – Today, the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee, approved three measures aiding Fire & EMS services in Pennsylvania, according to Senator Mike Regan (R-Cumberland and York), Chairman of the Committee.
“These proposals have come out of the recommendations in the recent Senate Resolution 6 Commission Report,” said Sen. Regan. “They are aimed at providing the needed support for our Fire & EMS agencies and ultimately so that they can be there for us when an emergency arises.”
Senate Bill 932, sponsored by Senator Lisa Boscola (D-18), would permit “combination” fire companies, those with both volunteer and paid firefighters, to be eligible for Fire Relief Funding.
“In order to ensure coverage for their municipalities, many volunteer fire companies have had to bring on some paid firefighters,” said Sen. Regan. “This legislation will ensure that these fire companies are not penalized when it comes to state funding.”
Senate Bill 987, sponsored by Senator Scott Hutchinson (R-21), would restructure the Office of State Fire Commissioner.
“Under this legislation, the Fire Commissioner would report directly to the Governor, instead of having to go through the Lt. Governor’s Office,” said Sen. Regan. “It is imperative, for the sake of public safety, that the voice of the Fire Commissioner be heard like other state agencies.”
Senate Bill 996, sponsored by Senator Michele Brooks (R-50), would allow the Department of Health to grant waivers to EMS agencies for certain staffing issues.
“Many rural Pennsylvania EMS providers are struggling to staff ambulances with drivers who are certified EMTs,” said Sen. Regan. “Rather than these companies having to shut their doors, this legislation provides some flexibility to keep them running calls.”
Each of the bills now goes before the full Senate for further consideration.
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