Pa. bill to increase fire, EMS grants by $5.5M gets amendments
Changes include boosting maximum grant awards from $15,000 to $20,000 and establishing an education certification management system
By Leila Merrill
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A measure that adds $5.5 million to Pennsylvania’s Fire and EMS Grant Program received amendments in a state Senate committee this week.
House Bill 1178 directs new funding into the grant program, the Meadville Tribune reports. The funds come from Pennsylvania’s amended law, Act 74 of 2022, which directs all revenue from the 12 percent tax on fireworks sales toward supporting fire and EMS.
The bill designates the following uses of funds: grants for reimbursement of EMS training, municipal fire department capital grants for facilities maintenance, capital grants for emergency service training centers, and online training educator and training reimbursement for firefighters. It also would establish the Active Volunteer Tuition and Loan Assistance Program to help emergency services recruit and retain volunteer first responders.
Members of the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness committee amended the legislation and sent it to the Senate floor.
The amended bill “would boost maximum grant awards from $15,000 to $20,000, directs the state fire commissioner to undertake a public safety campaign about fireworks, establishes an education certification management system, creates publicly accessible registry of firefighter training courses, and requires multiple annual reports including on grant allocation and the management system,” according to the news outlet. “It would also implement a pilot program at three higher education institutions in eastern, central and western Pennsylvania to provide instruction to high school students toward becoming EMS providers.”
The measure passed in the state House last month, but because it has been amended, it will need House approval again if it passes in the Senate.