Senators Randy Vulakovich (R-38) and Jay Costa (D-43) have introduced legislation creating a pilot program between community colleges and secondary schools to provide fire training to students.
Senate Bill 955 would provide an incentive for community colleges to establish Fire Training within secondary schools during the school year.
“The number of volunteer firefighters has decreased from 300,000 in the 1970s to 50,000 today,” said Senator Vulakovich, Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee. “Many fire companies are facing severe shortages of volunteers. We have found that if students are not joining a volunteer fire company by the time they graduate, they rarely join the firefighting ranks. One way we can address this is to provide training to students while they are in high school. Community colleges have been at the forefront in training future firefighters. This legislation will help create new partnerships and ultimately train more students in firefighting before they graduate high school.”
“I’m a supporter of this bill, and of all of the work community colleges do, because I see the gaps that they are filling to prepare our young people for a wide variety of fields. I sit on the board of the Community College of Allegheny County and I’m constantly inspired by the work that they’re doing getting students ready to attend a four-year college, or start a career,” said Senator Jay Costa, Minority Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee. “Community college is an affordable, accessible way for students to start tackling any number of skills; in fact, I started my own post-secondary education in community college. Maintaining a well-trained fire service is crucial for our safety across the state, and community colleges are a natural home for that training. While Senate Bill 955 only creates a pilot program for this training, I have no doubt that our community colleges will rise to the challenge and exceed expectations, as they always have.”
This legislation is an offspring of the statewide Fire & EMS Study that was initiated as a result of legislation, Senate Resolution 6, which Senators Vulakovich and Costa introduced.
Senate Bill 955 has been introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee.
Contact: Nate Silcox (717) 787-6538 (Senator Vulakovich)
Brittany Crampsie (717) 787-7683 (Senator Costa)