Barrar and Committee Vote to Address the Delivery of Pennsylvania’s Emergency Services
– This week the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, led by chairman Rep. Steve Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware), voted to create a bipartisan and bicameral commission to recommend improvements to the delivery of emergency services in the Commonwealth.
“Funding and recruiting volunteers have become more and more difficult, threatening services that aid Pennsylvanians during emergencies,” Barrar said. “Without real changes, we face the increasingly likely situation where we no longer have the benefits of volunteer fire and emergency medical services.”
The committee also voted in favor of a resolution congratulating the Pennsylvania National Guard and its environmental office on winning first place as a sustainability team in the 2016 Army National Guard Environmental Awards contest.
Rep. Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon), the bill’s sponsor, explained that this commendation is noteworthy because it was won in part because of the effort to recycle batteries and brass.
“Our Pennsylvania National Guard is indeed a good steward of our environment, and Pennsylvania is very proud of this national award,” Barrar commented.
At an informational hearing held jointly with the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee on Thursday, veterans groups provided updates regarding programs and initiatives.
The Network of Care website, http://veterans.networkofcare.org, assists veterans and their families with mental treatment information, knowledge and referral empowerment. It was launched in November as a way to connect veterans with services available in their area.
A focus of the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is promoting the state’s veterans registry. Brig. Gen. Anthony Carrelli shared that most veterans believe that they have done all that is necessary by signing up for the federal registry. Until there is a centralized database, veterans must sign up for the state registry – which can be done here
– to receive information about available state benefits and relevant programs.
Another common misconception is that by electing the veterans designation on the Pennsylvania driver’s license, the information is passed along to the DMVA. Research is currently being done to determine whether that is legally possible. As more than 300,000 veterans in the Commonwealth have acquired the designation, it would be an efficient way to reach more veterans.
The leadership of the Pennsylvania State Veterans Commission and the Pennsylvania War Veterans Council also provided the committee with their legislative agendas for the new session. Barrar noted that he looks forward to working on these new issues, thereby enhancing the lives of the Commonwealth’s veteran community and their families.
To view footage of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee’s meetings, click here
Representative Stephen E. Barrar
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Evans