Media, October 3, 2019 – At the request of state Sen. Tim Kearney (D- Chester/Delaware), the Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing today on the future of firefighting and EMS (emergency medical services) in Pennsylvania.
“Making sure that our communities have the resources they need to adequately prepare for and respond to emergencies is of the utmost importance,” Kearney said. “I am grateful that stakeholders from across the state are coming together to make sure emergency services like EMS and firefighting are able to adequately serve their communities into the future.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2015 and 2017 there was a 20 percent personnel decrease among career and volunteer firefighters in communities across the nation. The Pennsylvania Fire and Emergency Services Institute reports that the number of volunteer firefighters in the state has gone from approximately 300,000 in the 1970’s to just 38,000 in 2018 — despite the state’s population rising from 11.8 million in 1970 to 12.8 million in 2018.
In 2017, Senate Resolution 6 was approved to form a statewide commission to examine the crisis facing both firefighters and EMS personnel. The commission’s report concluded that more resources, funds, and legislative changes are needed to help maintain sufficient firefighting and EMS services in Pennsylvania.
“My husband served as a volunteer firefighter,” Boscola said. “So, I am well aware of the challenges these brave volunteers face. This hearing will give us the insight to go forth with much needed reform and assistance measures for our fire companies and EMS providers to make sure they have the resources and personnel they need to continue ensuring the health and safety of Pennsylvania residents,” Boscola said.
Testifiers at the hearing included:
- Bruce Trego, Fire Commissioner, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
- Sean Sanderson, Local Government Policy Specialist, Dept. of Community and Economic Development
- Jerry Ozog, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Fire and Emergency Services Institute
- Kathi Cozzone, Commissioner, Chester County
- Steven Bair, Chief, Alpha Fire Company
- Beau Crowding, Director of Operations, Chester County Dept. of Emergency Services
- Darrell Kaiser, Chief, Garden Spot Fire Rescue
- Danielle Koerner, Community Outreach Coordinator, Delaware County Dept. of Emergency Services
- Robert Brady, II., President, ROBB Consulting, LLC.
A full recording of the hearing is available at senatorboscola.com/policy