I want to thank the members of the Senate for their support today for the Fire & EMS Codification Bills – HB 1131, HB 1133, HB 1134, and SB 987.
These bills were drafted as part of the recommendations of SR 60 Commission of 2004 which was charged with finding ways for the General Assembly to improve Pennsylvania’s Fire and Emergency Management Services. Today with passage of these bills and by adopting what was the number one recommendation of that Report, I believe we are moving in the right direction.
The SR 60 Commission sought to have municipal codes include standard and uniform language regarding the provision of fire and emergency services. In addition to codifying existing practice concerning the provision of services, the Commission strongly wanted to enhance the relationship between local government and the emergency service providers, encouraging regular interactions.
The level of those services, the amount of money that is to be spent for the services, what types of services are provided, or how those services are to be provided is left to the discretion of the local governing officials.
This is not a mandate, but rather a means for local officials to consult with their emergency service providers on how best to service the community.
The final language in the bills truly represents a partnership among differing groups with competing interests. Getting the final agreed to language in these bills took time and a shared commitment by many individuals.
I would like to commend the efforts of my committee staff, Lee Ann Labecki, as well as that of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, Executive Directors – Pat Cusick, Rick O’Leary, and Sean Harris – in working with members of the Fire and Emergency Services and the Municipal Associations over the past week to draft compromise language.
I would specifically like to recognize the efforts of the following:
- Mr. Ed Mann, Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner
- Mr. Tom Savage, Pennsylvania Fire and Emergency Services Institute
- Mr. Elam Herr, Pennsylvania State Association of Townships
- Mr. Ed Troxell, Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs
- Ms. Amy Sturges, Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities
- Mr. Chuck Cressley, Pennsylvania Ambulance Association
- Senator Mike Waugh, Chair of the Senate Fire Caucus
After four years, we can finally realize success on the first recommendation of the all important SR 60 Commission report to improve Pennsylvania’s fire and emergency services. I am committed to continuing our efforts to advance other important recommendations of the Commission.
Contact: Brian Grove