Volunteer Fire Departments in Pennsylvania PowerPoint presentation

Report
 Decrease in # of volunteer
 300,000 in 1970s
 70,000 in 1990s
firefighters
 PA
State Fire Commissioner Edward A. Mann
estimates about 50,000 volunteer today
 2,400
fire departments across PA’s 67 counties
 Municipal
governments responsible
for fire protection & emergency
medical services (EMS)
 Volunteer
fire services save local
governments about $6 billion in
avoided costs
 Estimated
hourly value of PA
volunteer firefighter is $20.51
 PA
Volunteer Firefighter Relief
Association Program and
Volunteer Ambulance Service
Grant Program
 Programs
provide $150 million
a year to volunteer fire service
 Myth:
Local services tax funds fire
departments
 Myth:
State training requirements hinder
recruiting efforts
 Myth:
Volunteer fire departments are in
great financial health
 Reality:
Volunteer fire departments do not
receive any local service tax revenue
 Reality:
Pennsylvania does not require any
level of training for state firefighters
 Reality:
Many volunteer fire departments
face dire financial circumstances. Local
governments must create career fire
departments if they lose volunteer service.
 Fundraising

Dissatisfaction with time spent on fundraising
(chicken barbecues, bingo games, etc.)
 Firehouse

requirements
politics
Bureaucratic red tape (4 month process to replace a
lost glove in Montgomery County, PA)
 Both
cited as main reasons for leaving
departments
 Exit
surveys to determine why people are
leaving
 Example:

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
Fire department reduced bureaucratic red tape
after exit surveys frequently cited it as reason
for leaving
 Shorten
application
 Quick and personal follow up with
applicants
 Establish Citizen’s Fire Academy
 Market to “millennial” generation


Diverse and tech-savvy demographic
group
Value: recognition, little bureaucracy,
friendly work environments
Selective paging reduces # of volunteers for
unnecessary runs
 Climate & exit surveys to assess retention needs
 Highlands Emergency Services Alliance

EMS and firefighting training to high school students during
school
 Essentials of Fire Fighting and Emergency Response
certification
 Many later serve as junior firefighters

 Online
training options
 O’Hara Township


Points-based gift card incentive system
Awarded points for tasks such as training and EMS
shifts
 Customize
training to dept & community needs
 Montgomery County, Virginia

County-wide Volunteer Orientation teaches basics
of firefighting & emergency response
 Build
strong relationships
 Work with local elected
officials & community groups

Department tours, better
communication, etc
 Reach
out to community for
non-firefighting jobs

fundraising, financial reports,
administrative, etc
 Create



incentives for different age groups
Younger: Tuition breaks
Middle-age: Student loan forgiveness
Older: Length of service awards or retiree
stipends
 Allegheny
County Scholarship for volunteer
firefighters




65-credit Associate’s Degree at Community College of
Allegheny County
Covers tuition, fees, & books
Must meet minimum 2.00 GPA
Must commit to 5 years of fire service
 FireVEST
scholars represent 60 Allegheny County
companies and 14 CCAC academic programs
 60%
current participants have GPAs above 3.0

Implement recommendations in Senate Resolution 60
report

Tax and insurance incentives for volunteer
firefighters







local income tax breaks
forgiveness of local fire tax
state income tax breaks
municipal group medical insurance rates
state grant programs
local matches for Length of Service Award Programs
Albemarle County, Virginia

Funds incentives and cost recovery so volunteers don’t
spend money to volunteer.

Tax foreign fire insurance to fund volunteer training

Albemarle County, Virginia

County funds volunteer leadership and management
programs
 Establish
state-funded regional support
network

Help with technology, administration, accounting,
time consuming projects
 Restructure
Volunteer Loan Assistance Program
 What



As citizens…
As volunteers…
As elected officials…
 How



can we do?
can we help?
As citizens…
As volunteers…
As elected officials…

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