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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 25, 2019 01:18 PM
From: Senator Daylin Leach
To: All Senate members
Subject: Creation of the State Fire Commission
Soon I will introduce legislation to create a State Fire Commission and expand the Office of the State Fire Commissioner (OSCF).

Pennsylvania has always been the leader in the United States for fire prevention. The nation’s first volunteer fire service was created in the commonwealth, the state possesses the largest number of fire departments and it has the most career and paid personal providing emergency services in the US.

However, due to a decentralized governing body for fire services, Pennsylvania fire prevention suffers from a lack of consistency. To ensure that every municipality in the commonwealth is provided with excellent fire services, I’m introducing a bill that expands the authority of the Office of the State Fire Commissioner.

My bill is based off the recommendations from the SR 6 Commission’s report on the issues impacting fire and emergency services in Pennsylvania. Under my bill, the Office of the State Fire Commissioner would become a stand-alone office that reports directly to the governor and will not fall under the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. Additionally:
  • The OSFC would be clearly designated as the “lead agency” for fire services in the Commonwealth.
  • A new State Fire Commission would be created with the State Fire Commissioner serving as its chair.
  • The State Fire Commission would set minimum standards to be followed by all fire companies/departments in the Commonwealth.
  • The OSFC would be responsible for grant administration.
  • The OSFC would be responsible for the State Fire Academy.
  • Data collection and analysis of the statewide fire experience and system conditions would be collected on an ongoing basis to assist in decision-making.
  • The OSFC would advocate for fire prevention measures and improvements in fire service quality and delivery.
  • The OSFC would be responsible for administering Fireman’s Relief funds (excluding the audit, which would remain a function of the Auditor General).
  • The OSFC would provide technical assistance directly, and through agents and affiliates, to fire departments on technical and managerial matters.
  • The OSFC would be authorized to take actions to correct deficiencies related to a statewide minimum standard of cover.
  • The OSFC would conduct inspections of fire departments to ensure they comply with the Pennsylvania Fire Commission’s standards.

Please join me in supporting this important legislation.

If you have questions about this legislation, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Introduced as SB859