HARRISBURG – The state Senate today approved creation of a pilot program to train high school students interested in firefighting and help alleviate the pressing need for volunteer firefighters in Pennsylvania, Senator Cris Dush (R-25) said.
According to the bipartisan SR 6 report on the serious problems facing volunteer fire companies, Pennsylvania is experiencing a severe shortage of volunteer firefighters. The current number of volunteers is down to less than 15 percent of the number in the 1970s.
Senate Bill 83 creates a pilot program for Pennsylvania community colleges and universities to give interested high school students training in firefighting. The legislation would award three grants of $150,000 each in the eastern, central and western parts of the state to establish fire training programs for students.
The goal of the pilot program is to demonstrate that students receiving training will show an interest in becoming the next generation of firefighters. The bill requires a follow-up study to determine if the program increased the number of volunteer firefighters. Senate Bill 83 will be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
CONTACT: Zack Ankeny