Stefano: Senate Committee Establishes Significant Fire and EMS Programs

Higher/Secondary Ed Partnerships – Tuition & Loan Assistance – Registry of Fire Courses

HARRISBURG – Today, the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee advanced two measures, including major new programming for Pennsylvania fire and emergency medical services (EMS), according to Sen. Pat Stefano (R-32), committee chairman. 

House Bill 1178, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-124), would establish the following fire and EMS programs:

*Tuition & Loan Assistance for Active Volunteer Firefighters/EMS providers

*Funding for Emergency Services Training Centers

*Funding for Career Fire Company Training Centers

*Fire Course Registry

*Scholarships for Recruitment, Training & Retention of EMS

*Higher Education/Secondary Education Partnership Program

*Public Safety Campaign on Fireworks Safety Education

Additionally, the bill would:

*Increase to 20 years (from 10 years) the amount of time that a merged fire company or EMS agency can receive an enhanced fire and  EMS grant.

*Permit counties, school districts, and municipalities to adopt first responder tax credits via a resolution in addition to an ordinance.

“Both arms of emergency management are facing significant staffing and funding challenges,” said Sen. Stefano. “By working together at the state, county, and local levels, we’re doing our best to mitigate the threat of any Pennsylvanian needing care but not receiving it quickly. This comprehensive measure is so important as it will provide not just needed funds to volunteer fire companies and EMS agencies but crucial programming. It will help establish partnerships between higher education institutions and high schools to attract students to be trained. It will incentivize students to enter this profession with tuition and loan assistance. And it will establish an online system to maintain and track courses taken by volunteer firefighters.” 

Additionally, the committee unanimously reported House Bill 2373, sponsored by Rep. Russ Diamond (R-102), which would provide the PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs the authority to determine the best use of the former Lieutenant Governor’s Mansion and property at Fort Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County. The department would be required to provide equivalent facility space to support Pennsylvania service members, veterans and their families, and Gold Star survivor families, which are families who have lost a loved one who was serving in the armed forces.

Click HERE for the video from the meeting.


CONTACT: Nathan Silcox, 717-787-7175,

Back to Top