HARRISBURG – The state House of Representatives sent more than a dozen bills to the state Senate this month to address a growing statewide crisis in attracting and retaining volunteer firefighters and EMTs, according to Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming/Union). The package of bills, which garnered bipartisan support, is intended to aid in recruiting and retaining volunteer first responders, and also to show respect and appreciation to current volunteers who put their lives on the line for their friends and neighbors.
“Our local fire companies and EMS providers across the Commonwealth, and especially in rural communities like the 84th District, are in a crisis,” said Everett. “We felt it should be a top priority after the SR6 Commission report was completed to come up with legitimate and effective solutions that would really help our first responders with recruitment, funding, and mental health, as well as tax and regulatory relief. We were determined to begin the efforts in the House early this fall to get these reforms in place as soon as possible for our volunteers. We’re looking forward to seeing them signed into law, hopefully soon.”
A key bill in the package to help with funding that Everett co-sponsored is House Bill 1816
, which is aimed at increasing the maximum loans limits available to volunteer fire companies and emergency medical services by 10% through the Volunteer Loan Assistance Program (VLAP).
“It’s a shame that our volunteers who do dangerous and time-consuming work also have to worry about holding fundraisers in their off time, sometimes having to leave such events to respond to emergencies,” Everett said. “We need to do more to help our community members who run toward danger to save their neighbors. I’m happy to have co-sponsored a bill that makes the stress of funding their equipment, training and other needs a lesser burden.”
More information on the package of bills that passed the House is available at pahousegop.com/helpersandheroes
Representative Garth D. Everett
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Haas