Legislation that will extend and expand a program that annually provides grants to Pennsylvania's emergency responders has been unanimously supported by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate.
The bill will increase annual state funding for the grant program from $25 million to $30 million. The increased funding amount will allow the average amount of grants to fire departments to increase from $9,500 to $12,000 and the average grant to volunteer ambulance companies to increase from $4,500 to $5,600.
The program was set to expire at the end of June 2012, but Bill 866 will extend it another four years (through June 2016).
"The bill would go a long way toward helping both volunteer and municipal fire companies," (D-Pennsylvania's 38th House District) said in a news release praising the House and Senate action, "as well as volunteer ambulance services. For the first time, the program allows paid, municipal fire departments to participate in the grant program.
"And with more than 2,700 volunteer fire and ambulance companies in Pennsylvania, this will ease the burden of fundraising from the individuals busy saving our property and our lives."
Kortz represents south , among other areas. The bill will affect all of Pennsylvania.
The grants can be used to update facilities, purchase equipment, pay down debt and/or provide training for first responders.
"The program was created to take some of the tremendous fundraising pressure off of volunteer fire and ambulance companies," Kortz said, "and I'm pleased that the Legislature is taking action to ensure it will continue."
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