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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 9, 2019 01:56 PM
From: Senator Andrew E. Dinniman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Student Volunteer Firefighter Housing Grant Act

The number of volunteer firefighters across Pennsylvania continues to drastically decline. In the 1970’s there were about 300,000 volunteer firefighters in the state of Pennsylvania, flashforward to today, that number has fallen to roughly 38,000. This rapid decline forces local governments to increasingly turn to paid firefighters. I will soon introduce legislation that seeks to slow that trend by strengthening the relationship between universities, community colleges, technical schools, and fire and emergency medical services.

Under the Student Volunteer Firefighter Housing Grant Act, volunteer fire companies could apply for grants of up to $50,000 to construct living quarters within their fire stations. Tenants would have to be Pennsylvania residents, full-time students at a Pennsylvania institution of higher education and be certified as either a firefighter or emergency medical technician. The program would be capped at $2.5 million per year. Instead of pay, the students would receive a place to live.

Several other states have instituted this act successfully. The idea is that the student volunteers will take classes in the evening and be available during the day, to respond quickly to emergencies. Since it can be difficult for full-time working volunteers to respond to calls during the day.

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB759