HARRISBURG – February 25, 2019 – State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) today announced legislation to create a State Fire Commission and expand the Office of the State Fire Commissioner (OSFC).
“Pennsylvania has always been the leader in the United States for fire prevention,” Leach said. “The nation’s first volunteer fire service was created in the commonwealth, the state possesses the largest number of fire departments and it has the most career and paid personnel providing emergency services in the US.”
Leach’s new policy is based off the recommendations from the SR 6 Commission’s report on the issues impacting fire and emergency services in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania had close to 300,000 volunteer firefighters in the 1970s. This report shows that number has dropped dramatically over the years and we now have about 38,000 volunteers.
Under Leach’s bill, OSFC would become a stand-alone office that reports directly to the governor and will not fall under the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.
“Pennsylvania’s fire and rescue services face a crises, one that needs to be addressed,” Leach said. “The SR 6 report gives us a blueprint for what we need to do to move forward. It’s time the Pennsylvania legislature act to fix this problem.”
Leach circulated his proposal to his Senate colleagues in the form of a memo. For the next few weeks, all Senators will be able to co-sponsor Leach’s proposal if they wish. Once the co-sponsorship process is complete, Leach will introduce the policy’s language, at which time the proposal will be numbered and assigned to a Senate committee for consideration.
Leach’s legislation would designate OSFC as the lead agency for fire services in the Commonwealth. A new State Fire Commission would be created with the State Fire Commissioner serving as its chair. They would be tasked with setting minimum standards to be followed by all fire departments in the state, and they would be responsible for grant administration and the State Fire Academy.
Senator Daylin Leach represents the 17th Senatorial District, which includes parts of Montgomery County and Delaware County. For more information visit www.senatorleach.com/newsroom.