SR 6 Fire & EMS Commission Votes on Recommendations

On Wednesday (September 19th), the Senate Resolution 6 Commission voted on 92 Recommendations to the General Assembly to help avert a crisis in the delivery of Fire & EMS services in Pennsylvania.

“In the 1970’s, Pennsylvania had 300,000 volunteer firefighters,” said Sen. Vulakovich, Co-Chairman of the Commission.  “Today, that number stands at less than 30,000.  Meanwhile, many of our EMS personnel – the front line of our healthcare system – are paid less than many in the service industry.  These recommendations provide a roadmap to recovery.”

“While a great deal has been done to assist our Fire & EMS systems over the past several decades, more needs to be done,” said Rep. Barrar, Co-Chairman of the Commission.  “I am looking forward to playing a part in their implementation.”

Amongst the recommendations are a call to revamp the Office of Fire Commissioner and establish a new Fire Commission – postsecondary education credits and loan forgiveness for volunteer first responders – establishment of basic levels of training – expansion of online training – tax credits for employers who allow their employees to run fire calls – and authorization for payment when an ambulance is called and the patient is treated but refuses to be transported.

Last year, the Senate and House unanimously voted to establish the 39-member Commission, comprised of the major Fire & EMS organizations and leaders from throughout the Commonwealth.  The Commission began meeting in January in Harrisburg, and held meetings in Allegheny, Chester, Lackawanna and Somerset Counties.  Additionally, the Senate and House Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness s Committees held a hearing on the work of the Commission in Centre County.

In 2003, the General Assembly adopted Senate Resolution 60, which put forth 23 recommendations.  Many of these recommendations were worked through and implemented.  In 2016, Chairman Vulakovich convened a working group to look back at the SR 60 Commission, which led to its “reboot” as SR 6.  Now that the recommendations are voted on, a final report will be compiled and voted on prior to November 30, 2018.

Contacts:        Sen. Vulakovich          Nate Silcox     (717) 787-6538                       nsilcox@pasen.gov

                        Rep. Barrar                  Alison Evans   (717) 260-6206                       Aevans@pahousegop.com