Harrisburg, PA — Embattled State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) proposed new legislation to create a State Fire Commission and expand the Office of the State Fire Commissioner (OSFC).
Leach, who has been embroiled in a lawsuit the past two months, made this move to bolster the state's Fire and Rescue services.
“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."
Leach added that "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 circulated his proposal to his Senate colleagues in the form of a memo.
Leach’s new policy is based on 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 the 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 crisis," Leach said. "One that needs to be addressed."
The report is the cornerstone for moving PA fire services forward, Leach said.
“The SR 6 report gives us a blueprint for what we need to do to move forward," he added. "It’s time the Pennsylvania legislature act to fix this problem.”
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.
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