|By State Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne)
Legislation is currently working its way through the House of Representatives that would support Pennsylvania’s fire and ambulance services. The bills are designed to address staffing and funding challenges facing these vital public safety organizations.
Bills received committee approval this week that would expand and increase the maximum loan amounts available through the Volunteer Loan Assistance Program, as well as to reauthorize the Fire and EMS Grant Program administered by the Office of State Fire Commissioner. ( House Bills 1448
Two other measures aim to address stress management and post-traumatic stress injuries for first responders. (House Bills 432
House Bill 1839 would authorize counties to offer a property tax credit for volunteer first responders as an incentive to get more people involved in the emergency services.
To help rural EMS providers, House Bill 1869
would allow the Department of Health to grant waivers for staffing requirements on a Basic Life Support (BLS) service ambulance in sixth- through eighth-class counties.
Finally, House Bill 1838
would increase funding for the Emergency Medical Services Operating Fund and require 30% of the funds to be used to provide training to underserved rural areas and 10% of the funds to be used for medical equipment for ambulances.
The bills will next be considered by the full House.
Representative Tarah Toohil
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office