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04/23/2024 12:44 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: June 7, 2023 01:45 PM
From: Representative Clint Owlett and Rep. Tina Pickett, Rep. Martin T. Causer, Rep. Joe Hamm, Rep. Jonathan Fritz
To: All House members
Subject: Compensation to Volunteer Fire Departments During 911 System Outages
Soon we will be introducing legislation to hold telecommunication utilities financially accountable when they fail to uphold their duties in assisting our emergency management systems and first responders with our 911 system.

There was public input hearing in the Northern Tier last evening relating to service issues from our local telephone company.  We learned that when there is a power outage, the telephone service providers have backup generators or batteries to make sure our incredibly important 911 services continue in operation. However, when a company neglects to properly maintain or invest in this infrastructure, many of our rural constituents without cell coverage are left with no access to 911 services. The testimony given at this hearing was shocking.  During one of these landline outages, our incredible volunteer fire companies are required to have someone physically at the fire station for members of the community to drive to for emergency services. This continues to stress our volunteers who give so selflessly because of what we would call a selfish lack of investment from our telecommunications services in rural areas.

Our bill will require that these telecommunications companies must compensate the volunteer fire departments at a rate of $1,000 per hour during an outage of the 911 system that requires them to man the fire station.  The status quo is entirely intolerable, and we hope you will work with us to change it.

Introduced as HB1622