Communities across Pennsylvania face a growing crisis in attracting volunteer first responders. 

Fire and emergency medical services (EMS) companies are being forced to close, reducing the services provided to our communities.

The House took action, passing more than a dozen bills that help recruit, retain and show respect for those willing to put their lives on the line for their friends and neighbors.

“When the alarm sounds in a fire house across our Commonwealth, it is often answered by volunteers,” House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler said. “However, the number of volunteers answering that call is shrinking more and more each day. It was crucial for the House to act on these bills, and we encourage the Senate to act just as quickly as their responders would for them.”

In the 1970s, there were nearly 300,000 Pennsylvanians who volunteered at their neighborhood firehouse. Today, we are down to roughly 37,000. We are forever grateful to those volunteers willing to sacrifice time with their own family and loved ones to help complete strangers. We also owe to them to do everything in our power to grow their ranks to ensure responders will always be there to answer the call.

Taking Action for Our Helpers and Heroes

The legislation addresses a multitude of issues from tax relief for fire companies and first responder family members, modern recruitment expansions, freeing up existing resources, providing education and loan assistance for volunteers, and much more.

The bills were based on recommendations made by a commission made up of first responders, policy makers and advocates who spent months examining the landscape and challenges facing responders.

>> View the legislation.

>> 10 Fast Facts on Pennsylvania's Helpers and Heroes

Lawmakers and several Pennsylvania firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) providers held a Capitol press conference to detail the public safety concerns and discuss the Helpers & Heroes legislative agenda.