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Shapiro Administration Tours Shavertown Fire Company in Luzerne County and Americus Hose Company in Northumberland County, Highlighting Statewide Budget Investments in Public Safety

03/19/2024

Shavertown, PA – Today, the Shapiro Administration made stops at Shavertown Fire Company in Northeastern Pennsylvania and Americus Hose Company in Northcentral Pennsylvania to discuss how the 2024-25 budget proposal to increase the Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Grant Program to $60 million will help communities' critical first responders recruit more people, update outdated safety equipment, and provide additional training.

“Our first responders take great risks every day to protect communities across the Commonwealth," Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner Thomas Cook said. “These additional investments in the Office of the State Fire Commissioner's (OSFC) Fire and EMS Grant Program will support the good work they do by helping departments pay for the ever-rising costs of public safety."

The Governor's proposal will double funding to $60 million from the $30 million the program receives today. The grant is open to fire, EMS, and volunteer rescue squad organizations across the Commonwealth, covering a variety of eligible expenses including purchase or repair of ambulances and fire trucks, firefighting and medical gear and tools, training materials and certifications, recruitment and retention materials, construction and upgrades to buildings, and debt reduction.

Shavertown Fire Company President and Deputy Chief Ryan Moss discussed how money from the grant program has been critical in paying off debt on the purchase of an automotive repair shop building, which they are currently transforming into their new fire station. The all-volunteer fire company currently operates out of a sixty-year-old building that is too small to house modern fire trucks. The proposed increase in grant funding will help speed up the conversion of the repair shop into a fire station which will serve the community for many years to come. Northumberland County emergency services officials echoed the need for this increase in grant funding. Currently, the maximum annual award amount per organization for fire grants is $20,000 with EMS grants capped at $15,000.

“The increase in grant funding, along with the Shapiro Administration's investment of $1 million for EMS tuition reimbursement is important in providing that much-needed support for fire and EMS professionals who put their lives on the line every time they are called to duty," said Dr. Wendy Braund, Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) Deputy Secretary for Health Preparedness and Community Protection. “They deserve to be supported in their careers and provided the educational opportunities to advance their knowledge and experience."

The Shapiro Administration has been focused on creating safer communities through investments in first responders. Governor Shapiro knows firsthand that first responders are on the frontlines keeping their communities safe – and his 2024-25 budget proposal shows a continued investment in equipment, training, and staffing needs so fire and EMS organizations can do just that.

For more information on the Fire and EMS Grant Program, including a list of current recipients, please visit the Office of the State Fire Commissioner website.


MEDIA CONTACT:

OSFC – Jeff Jumper, jejumper@pa.gov

DOH – Mark O'Neill, ra-dhpressoffice@pa.gov

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