HARRISBURG — Legislation sponsored by Sen. Pat Stefano (R-32) that would implement Pennsylvania voters’ decision to allow municipally-owned fire companies to participate in the Emergency Medical Services Loan Program and (EMS) has received the support of the General Assembly and is moving to the Governor for his signature.
Senate Bill 739 would ensure that all fire companies – whether volunteer, paid or mixed – are eligible for low-interest loans.
The bill was also amended to allocate a total of $25 million in federal disaster relief funds to be distributed through the Emergency Medical Services COVID-19 Recovery Grant program. EMS companies will be able to receive these funds through the office of the state fire marshal.
“We are extremely grateful that Pennsylvania EMTs and paramedics provide emergency care every day and night while enduring harsh conditions. Ambulance services struggled to maintain operations even before the COVID-19 pandemic and Senate Bill 739 will provide some much needed help! The Pennsylvania Fire and Emergency Services Institute (PFESI) congratulates members of the General Assembly for passing Senate Bill 739 which will provide $25 million in ambulance service grants. We are very grateful for their efforts,” said Jerry Ozog, Executive Director of PFESI.
Funding will be distributed on a pro-rata basis to EMS companies.
“First responders never stopped working during the pandemic, even early on before we had enough information to make our own decisions about the severity of the virus. Costs for our EMS businesses have gone up and access to medical-grade masks has gone down as we faced shortages across the state,” Sen. Stefano said. “It was a difficult time to serve the community.”
Fire and EMS businesses have been struggling financially for years, which is why the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness worked to pass legislation based on recommendations made by the Senate Resolution 6 Committee. The commission, which was created by Senate Resolution 6 of 2017, was tasked with making recommendations on how to avert a crisis in the delivery of fire and emergency medical services in Pennsylvania.
“As chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, I am focused on supporting our fire and EMS societies so that Pennsylvanians have the critical support they need in situations. life-threatening emergencies,” Sen. Stefano said.
CONTACT: Nathan Silcox, 717-787-7175, [email protected]