HARRISBURG – As co-chair of the Senate Resolution 6 Commission, Rep. Steve Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware) joined other commission members in presenting the report focused on improving recruitment and retention in the two critical fields of fire and emergency medical services (EMS).
After the bipartisan, bicameral commission held a series of meetings during the last year, it created a report of 27 recommendations about how to address recruitment and retention problems in the Commonwealth.
“Since the report was released now, we will be able to hit the ground running when the next legislative session begins in January,” Barrar said. “We will be able to hold hearings, as necessary, and draft legislation to make a real difference with the problems we are facing.”
For example, the number of volunteer firefighters shrunk from about 300,000 in the 1980s to 38,000 today, according to the Pennsylvania Fire and Emergency Services Institute.
Recommendations include providing tax credit expansion for personnel, free community college or state university system tuition funding basic fire and emergency medical technician training for all firefighters and EMS personnel.
Concepts, like regionalization, are also suggested in the report. As stated in the report, the concept would be to provide a core of career personnel to handle the “routine” responses supported by volunteers to handle more involved responses.
Another recommendation was to raise the fine for misusing fireworks from $100 to $500, with the majority being retained by local governments to better equip them to handle the significant increase in calls made in many communities across the state.
“I remain committed to ensuring that our first responder services remain viable in the Commonwealth, and look forward to advancing concepts contained the in the report next year,” Barrar added.
Representative Stephen E. Barrar
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Evans