|February 17, 2022 10:29 AM
|Representative Pam Snyder
|All House members
|Volunteer Firefighter Driver’s License Designation
|On December 7, 1736, Benjamin Franklin helped create the first organized volunteer firefighting company in the American colonies. The Union Fire Company (or “Bucket Brigade”), located in Philadelphia, was not the first organized team of firefighters, but it was the first group made up entirely of volunteers who vowed to protect anyone in need rather than only its paying members, which was the firefighting model of the time. The model created by Franklin largely flourished until recent decades, when the number of volunteer firefighters began to fall precipitously. For reference, in the 1970s, Pennsylvania boasted approximately 360,000 volunteer firefighters, but that number has fallen to an estimated 30,000 today.
The individuals who make up our volunteer fire departments receive no compensation and, often, no recognition. In an effort to bring some recognition to these brave heroes of our communities, I will be introducing legislation that would provide volunteer firefighters with an option to have a “volunteer firefighter” designation placed on their driver’s license. Volunteer fire departments are often cash-strapped and cannot afford to create membership cards. This legislation would establish an alternative identification source, while also providing some assistance to our struggling volunteer fire departments and recognition to those who, when called upon, do their best to keep us safe.
We all owe a debt of gratitude to those who volunteer their time to serve and protect us. I hope you agree and will join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.
Introduced as HB2440