1Amending Title 35 (Health and Safety) of the Pennsylvania
2Consolidated Statutes, in emergency services, changing
3implementing authority from the Pennsylvania Emergency
4Management Agency to the Office of the State Fire
5Commissioner; further providing for assistance to volunteer 
6fire companies, ambulance service and rescue squads and for 
7powers and duties; and making editorial changes.

8The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
9hereby enacts as follows:

10Section 1. The definition of "agency" in section 7363 of
11Title 35 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes is amended
12and the section is amended by adding definitions to read:

13§ 7363. Definitions.

14The following words and phrases when used in this subchapter
15shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
16context clearly indicates otherwise:

17* * *

1["Agency." The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.]

2* * *

3"Commissioner." The State Fire Commissioner.

4* * *

5"Office." The Office of the State Fire Commissioner.

6* * *

7Section 2. Section 7364(a) introductory paragraph, (1), (2),
8(3), (5), (6) and (7), (b), (e), (f), (g) and (h) of Title 35
9are amended and the section is amended by adding a subsection to

11§ 7364. Assistance to volunteer fire companies, ambulance
12service and rescue squads.

13(a) General rule.--The [agency] office is authorized, upon
14application of any volunteer fire company, volunteer ambulance
15service or volunteer rescue squad, to make loans for the
16following purposes:

17(1) Establishing or modernizing facilities that house
18firefighting equipment, ambulance or rescue vehicles. The
19amount of a loan for establishing or modernizing facilities
20made to any one volunteer fire company, ambulance service or
21rescue squad shall not exceed 50% of the total cost of the
22facilities or modernization or [$200,000] $400,000, whichever
23is less, and a notarized financial statement filed under
24subsection (c) shall show that the applicant has available
2520% of the total cost of the facilities in unobligated funds.
26Proceeds of the loan shall be used only for purposes of
27structure or land acquisition or renovation or construction
28and shall not be used for payment of fees for design,
29planning, preparation of applications or any other cost not
30directly attributable to structure or land acquisition or

1renovation or construction.

2(2) Purchasing firefighting apparatus, ambulances or
3rescue vehicles. The amount of a loan made for purchasing
4firefighting apparatus to any one volunteer fire company
5shall not exceed [$100,000] <-$300,000 $200,000 for any single
6firefighting apparatus equipment or utility or special
7service vehicle or heavy duty rescue vehicle as defined by
8regulation or guideline, or 50% of the total cost of the
9equipment or vehicle, whichever is less, except for loans for
10aerial apparatus as defined by regulation or guideline, which
11shall not exceed [$150,000] $300,000. The amount of a loan
12made to any one volunteer fire company, ambulance service or
13rescue squad for any ambulance or light duty rescue vehicle
14as defined by regulation or guideline shall not exceed
15[$50,000] $100,000 and for a watercraft rescue vehicle shall
16not exceed [$15,000] $30,000 or 50% of the cost of the
17ambulance or rescue vehicle, whichever is less, and a
18notarized financial statement filed under subsection (c)
19shall show that the applicant has available 20% of the total
20cost of the vehicle in unobligated funds.

21(3) Purchasing protective, accessory or communication
22equipment. No volunteer fire company, ambulance service or
23rescue squad shall receive a loan for protective, accessory
24or communicative equipment more than once in any five-year
25period. Each volunteer fire company, ambulance service or
26rescue squad may apply for a loan for a mobile and portable
27radio unit for each existing serviceable apparatus equipment,
28ambulance or rescue vehicle. Radio equipment obtained through
29loans under this subchapter shall be equipped with a
30frequency or frequencies licensed by the Federal

1Communications Commission for firefighting or emergency
2response purposes. A notarized financial statement shall be
3filed and loans under this subchapter for the purchase of
4protective, accessory or communicative equipment shall not
5exceed [$10,000] $20,000.

6* * *

7(5) Repair or rehabilitation of apparatus equipment.
8Where it has been determined that existing apparatus
9equipment no longer meets the standards of the National Fire
10Protection Association and the repair or rehabilitation of
11such equipment will bring it in compliance with National Fire
12Protection Association standards, loans for the repair or
13rehabilitation for a single apparatus equipment shall be for
14at least [$1,000] $2,000 but shall not exceed the lesser of
15[$35,000] $70,000 or 80% of the total cost of repair or

17(6) Purchasing of used firefighting apparatus,
18equipment, used ambulances, used rescue vehicles, used
19communications equipment, used accessory equipment or used
20protective equipment, except that the used vehicles and
21equipment shall meet the National Fire Protection Association
22(NFPA) standards and loans for the purchase of a used single
23apparatus equipment shall not exceed [$60,000] $120,000 or
2480% of the total cost of the equipment, whichever is less.

25(7) Purchasing Pennsylvania Fire Information Reporting
26System (PennFIRS) hardware and software. A volunteer fire
27company shall be eligible to apply one time only for a loan
28of not more than [$2,000] $4,000 or 75% of the cost of such
29acquisition, whichever is less, and with a term not exceeding
30five years for the purpose of acquiring the hardware and

1software necessary to participate in the Pennsylvania Fire
2Information Reporting System. The [Office of the State Fire
3Commissioner] office shall develop, at its discretion, such
4procedures and forms as it may deem necessary to facilitate
5loans for PennFIRS hardware and software. The loans shall be
6secured as required by law.

7* * *

8(b) Loans.--Loans made by the [agency] office in the amount
9of [$15,000] $30,000 or less shall be for a period of not more
10than [five] ten years. Loans in excess of [$15,000] $30,000 but
11[for $50,000 or less] not in excess of $100,000 shall be for a
12period of not more than [ten] 15 years. The payback period of
13any loan in excess of [$50,000] $100,000, except a loan for
14establishing or modernizing facilities, shall not exceed [15] 20
15years. The payback period for any loan in excess of [$100,000]
16$200,000 for establishing or modernizing facilities shall not
17exceed 20 years. Loans shall be subject to the payment of
18interest at 2% per year and shall be subject to such security as
19shall be determined by the [agency] commissioner. The total
20amount of interest earned by the investment or reinvestment of
21all or any part of the principal of any loan shall be returned
22to the [agency] office and transferred to the Volunteer
23Companies Loan Fund and shall not be credited as payment of
24principal or interest on the loan. Except as provided in
25subsection (a)(5) and (7), the minimum amount of any loan shall
26be [$5,000] $10,000.

27* * *

28(e) Payment.--Loans made by the [agency] office shall be
29paid from the Volunteer Companies Loan Fund to the volunteer
30fire companies, ambulance services and rescue squads in

1accordance with [rules and regulations promulgated] guidelines 
2and procedures developed by the [agency] office.

3(f) Deposit.--All payments of interest on the loans and the
4principal thereof shall be deposited by the [agency] office in
5the Volunteer Companies Loan Fund.

6(g) Eligibility.--A volunteer fire company, ambulance
7service and rescue squad shall be eligible for a loan regardless
8of legal ownership in whole or in part by any political
9subdivision of any facilities or apparatus equipment used by the
10volunteer fire company, volunteer ambulance and volunteer rescue
11squad. Any equipment or facilities financed may be transferred
12to a political subdivision served by the volunteer fire company,
13volunteer ambulance service or volunteer rescue squad subject to
14such security as shall be determined by the [agency]

16(h) Maximum amount.--Notwithstanding any other provision of
17this section to the contrary, the maximum amount of any loan to
18a volunteer fire company, volunteer ambulance service and
19volunteer rescue squad for the purchase of firefighting
20apparatus, ambulances or rescue vehicles manufactured or
21assembled in this Commonwealth, may exceed the loan limits set
22forth in this section by [$10,000] $20,000.

23(i) Aggregation of loans.--

24(1) Subject to paragraph (2), a fire company, volunteer
25rescue service or volunteer ambulance service shall not be
26eligible for more than three loans at one time.

27(2) If more than one fire company, volunteer rescue
28service or volunteer ambulance services merge or consolidate
29into a single entity, as determined by the commissioner, the
30entity shall be eligible for not more than ten loans at one

1time for a period of ten years from the date of the merger or

3Section 3. Section 7365(a) and (b) of Title 35 are amended
4to read:

5§ 7365. Volunteer Companies Loan Fund.

6(a) General rule.--There is created a special fund in the
7Treasury Department to be known as the Volunteer Companies Loan
8Fund to which shall be credited all appropriations made by the
9General Assembly other than appropriations for expenses of
10administering this subchapter or grants from other sources to
11the [agency] office as well as repayment of principal and
12interest on loans made under this subchapter.

13(b) Requisition.--Upon approval of the loan, the [agency]
14commissioner shall routinely requisition from the Volunteer
15Companies Loan Fund such amounts as shall be allocated by the
16[agency] office for loans to volunteer companies. When and as
17the amounts so allocated as loans to volunteer companies are
18repaid pursuant to the terms of the agreements made and entered
19into with the [agency] office, the [agency] office shall pay
20such amounts into the Volunteer Companies Loan Fund, it being
21the intent of this subchapter that the Volunteer Companies Loan
22Fund shall operate as a revolving fund whereby all
23appropriations and payments made thereto may be applied and
24reapplied to the purposes of this subchapter.

25* * *

26Section 4. Section 7366 heading, (a) introductory paragraph
27and (4), (b) introductory paragraph and (2) of Title 35 are
28amended and subsections (a) and (b) are amended by adding
29paragraphs to read:

30§ 7366. Powers and duties of [agency] office.

1(a) Mandatory.--The [powers and duties of the agency shall
2be] office has the following duties:

3* * *

4(3.1) To establish criteria to determine need for
5firefighting apparatus, ambulances and rescue vehicles and to
6establish guidelines and procedures for volunteer companies
7to show just cause to determine that need.

8(4) To promulgate [such rules and] regulations and 
9develop guidelines and procedures as it deems necessary to
10carry out its powers and duties under this subchapter.

11(b) Discretionary.--The [powers and duties of the agency may
12be] office has the following powers:

13* * *

14(2) To specify priority of liens against any facilities,
15apparatus equipment, ambulances, rescue vehicles or any
16equipment purchased by volunteer companies using funds loaned
17under this subchapter to pay all or any part of the purchase
18price, as the [agency] office may require by [regulation.]
19established guidelines and procedures. The commissioner may 
20specify the type of liens or collateral authorized as 
21security under this paragraph.

22(3) To reject a loan application based on the criteria
23established under subsection (a).

24Section 5. Section 7376 of Title 35 is amended to read:

25§ 7376. Repayment obligations for principal and interest.

26The General Assembly shall appropriate an amount equal to 
27moneys received from the [agency] office under section 7365 
28(relating to Volunteer Companies Loan Fund) and such other 
29moneys as may be necessary to meet repayment obligations for 
30principal and interest into the Volunteer Company Loan Sinking


2Section 6. The Legislative Reference Bureau shall replace 
3references to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency with 
4references to the Office of the State Fire Commissioner in 4 Pa. 
5Code Ch. 113 (relating to volunteer fire company, ambulance 
6service and rescue squad assistance).

7Section 7. This act shall take effect in 60 days.