Barrar Legislation to Reauthorize Assistance to Volunteer Fire and EMS Organizations Advances
10/18/2011
HARRISBURG – The House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, chaired by Rep. Stephen E. Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware), today unanimously approved legislation authored by Barrar to reauthorize the popular Volunteer Fire Company, Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program (VFCVASGP) through June 30, 2016. The bill was amended in committee to increase the total program funding and to include municipal fire organizations.

“This program has been successful at helping countless volunteer fire, rescue and ambulance organizations over the years, and I am happy to ensure its continuation,” said Barrar. “It was a bi-partisan effort to expand the program to cover municipal fire companies. Both volunteer and municipal firefighters are risking everything to protect the lives and property of Pennsylvania citizens. By expanding this program to include municipal fire departments, we may be able to keep more firefighters on duty in Pennsylvania.”

House Bill 955 would extend the VFCVASGP, which is set to expire on June 30, 2012, through the end of June 2016. With the amendment approved today by the committee, the total available funding in future years would increase from $25 million to $40 million. Funding for the program does not come from the state’s General Fund, but is distributed from the State Gaming Fund.

During the meeting, Barrar was questioned about how the increase would impact gaming revenue distributions to the Property Tax Relief Fund.

“Funding for our emergency services is vital,” said Barrar. “Along with the value added to our communities and properties from having a trained and reliable fire and ambulance service, volunteer fire companies save Pennsylvania taxpayers $6 billion annually. In addition to coming through when the fire alarm sounds or the 9-1-1 call is made, volunteers are hard at work in our communities with their efforts to educate the public about fire prevention and respond to non-emergency calls. This grant program will truly have a positive impact on the many emergency response efforts of our fire and ambulance organizations across the Commonwealth.”

The application period for the VFCVASGP is currently open to volunteer organizations through Nov. 4. The deadline to apply was extended due to extensive statewide flooding.

Information about the grant program and Barrar’s other legislative priorities is available at SteveBarrar.com. He also posts updates at Facebook.com/RepBarrar.

The committee also unanimously approved Rep. Doug Reichley’s (R-Berks/Lehigh) House Bill 1758, which would increase state active duty National Guard pay from $75 per day to $100 per day.

Both bills will now go to the full House for consideration.


State Representative Steve Barrar
160th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Nicole Wamsley
nwamsley@pahousegop.com
717.783.8063
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