Senate Committee Approves Legislation To Extend Volunteer Fire, Ambulance Grants

HARRISBURG – Legislation to extend the state’s $25 million Volunteer Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program through 2007 was approved today by the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, according to Committee Chair Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne).

“Our volunteer fire and ambulance companies are the very first line of defense and assistance for our citizens in a wide variety of circumstances. Their work in our communities is critical, difficult and often dangerous, and they are doing this as volunteers. Many of Pennsylvania’s volunteer fire companies struggle to meet the rising costs of equipment and training, and face serious recruiting problems,” Baker said. “This important grant program will help them more easily make ends meet, so they can focus on protecting our communities and spend less time on fundraising.”

This program, established in 2000, provides volunteer fire companies with grants of up to $15,000 and volunteer ambulance and rescue services with grants of up to $10,000 for construction and renovation of fire houses; the purchase or repair of equipment; and debt reduction. Pennsylvania is home to approximately 2,460 volunteer fire companies.

Under the legislation, fire companies would have until April to apply for grants, which would be awarded by the end of June.

“We want to get this money out to our volunteers as soon as possible,” Baker said. “These men and women provide a tremendous service to our communities and they deserve our support.”

The grant program is administered by the Office of the State Fire Commissioner under the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. PEMA also coordinates the state’s successful Volunteer Loan Assistance Program, which helps volunteer companies offset the high cost of equipment and construction by providing them with low-interest loans.

 Contact: Brian Grove
(570) 675-3931

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