Sainato: Newly passed bill would help replenish funding for volunteer fire, EMS companies

NEW CASTLE, April 28 – The House today unanimously passed a bill that would speed funding to volunteer fire and emergency medical service companies, which are facing even greater financial challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic because of restrictions on fundraising activities, announced state Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence.

House Bill 2413 – introduced to get funding to the state’s first responders during the pandemic – was amended to create a program that would provide automatic crisis grants funded by a one-time transfer of $30 million from the Volunteer Companies Loan Fund.

“Our state’s first responders are as resourceful as they are courageous, but the pandemic and measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 removed a major source of fundraising for these frontline workers,” said Sainato, who is Democratic chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.

“I’m encouraged that the House acted today to begin concrete steps to restore that funding, so our men and women working on the front lines will have access to the equipment and resources they need to stay safe and save lives.”

Sainato said the emergency grants would be subject to approval by the Office of the State Fire Commissioner and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

The bill heads to the Senate for further consideration.