|In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that, based on the concepts of the SR 6 (Fire & EMS) Commission recommendations, would restructure and enhance the Office of the State Fire Commissioner.
My legislation would include the following elements:
While the confirmation of the State Fire Commissioner was not included in the recommendations of the SR 6 Commission, I believe, along with the PA Fire & Emergency Services Institute, that this is important change to ensure that we continue to have the most qualified men and women leading this Office.
- Require Senate Confirmation of the State Fire Commissioner.
- Charge the Office of Fire Commissioner as the lead agency for fire services in the Commonwealth, including Act 13/Alternative Energy Funds - Data Collection - Fire & EMS Grant Program - Fire Equipment Distributor Certification (separate legislation) – Fire & EMS Loan Assistance Program (separate legislation) - Fire Relief Administration (separate legislation) - Grant & Loan Assistance – Public Education/Community Risk Reduction - Recruitment & Retention - Mergers & Consolidation - Regional Technical Advisors - Training (Curriculum Development, Online, State Fire Academy).
- Establish a State Fire Advisory Board with the following components:
- Voting Members - Fire Commissioner (Chair) - 2 Career (Career Fire Chiefs Association and PA Professional Firefighters Association) – 10 Volunteer (PA Fire & Emergency Services Institute representative and 9 Regional Representatives based on the Regional Task Force model), a representative of the Fire Equipment Distributors, and a representative of HAZMAT.
- Non-Voting Members (Chairmen and Minority Chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee, County Commissioners Association of PA, PA Council of Governments, PA Municipal League, PA State Association of Boroughs, PA State Association of Township Commissioners, PA State Association of Township Supervisors, Community Colleges Association, Ambulance Association of PA, and PA Emergency Health Services Council).
- Meet Quarterly - Review and make Recommendations on Innovative Programming - Review and make Recommendations on Legislation - Review and make Recommendations as called upon by the General Assembly – and Assist municipalities to develop standards of response coverage.
Please join me in sponsoring this legislation to enhance the leadership of our volunteer firefighters across the Commonwealth.