Ciresi introduces legislation to benefit first responders

HARRISBURG, Feb. 7 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, introduced House Bill 2273 on Monday to benefit first responders. The bill would waive vehicle registration fees for volunteer first responders who use their own vehicles to travel to emergencies.

“Pennsylvania is in the midst of a crisis, facing a steady decline in the number of volunteer first responders,” Ciresi said. “In order to support the men and women who provide a vital service for our communities, it’s of the utmost importance to not only help these volunteers but encourage future generations to follow their example.”

The General Assembly officially adopted Senate Resolution 6 in 2017, and a 39-member commission met to detail the challenges facing first responders. The Pennsylvania Fire and Emergency Services Institute estimates the number of volunteer firefighters has declined from 300,000 in the 1970s to about 38,000 in 2018. Ciresi has held several roundtable discussions with local volunteer fire companies, EMS organizations and municipalities on how to support their operations and address the continued decline in volunteerism.

“The very least we can do is support the men and women who serve our community, responding to every emergency – whenever it happens,” Ciresi said.

Earlier this year, Ciresi announced more than $175,000 in state funding had been approved for 12 local fire and EMS organizations. A package of bills to support volunteer emergency service organizations and incentivize volunteerism also passed the House in October, with Ciresi’s support, but most are awaiting action by the Senate.

House Bill 2273 has been referred to the House Transportation Committee.