Senator J. Ward plans to reintroduce a package of bills (Senate Bills 64-65) from last session aimed at volunteer firefighters as well as other emergency service personnel. Volunteers are a crucial part of our fire and emergency medical service delivery system in Pennsylvania. A 2018 report issued by the Senate Resolution 6 Commission, established to recommend improvements to the delivery of emergency services in the Commonwealth, stated the following: “Of Pennsylvania’s 2,462 fire companies, more than 90 percent are volunteer companies.” In addition, a 2001 study by the Pennsylvania Fire and Emergency Services Institute estimated that the service provided by our volunteers is valued at $6 billion annually. In today’s dollars the amount may be as high as $10 billion.

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