Legislation Boosting Aid to First Responders Set for Enactment

HARRISBURG – Building on a promise to provide Pennsylvania’s frontline heroes with relief, Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) today voted to advance a measure to provide $25 million in funding to support our Commonwealth’s EMS providers.

The funding comes from federal disaster relief funds and will be distributed under the Emergency Medical Services COVID-19 Recovery Grant Program. EMS companies will be able to receive these funds through the Office of the State Fire Commissioner.

“During the pandemic, when the governor’s closures forced most of us to stay home, our frontline workers still provided critical, and often life-saving, medical care to Pennsylvanians. They showed up for the good of their communities,” Sen. Bartolotta said. “They need and deserve our support, so I was glad to vote in favor of this important bill.”

Since January, the General Assembly has advanced measures totaling $250 million for our frontline workers, health care providers, emergency services, and EMTs. The passage of Senate Bill 739 builds upon the General Assembly’s recent efforts to distribute $225 million in federal relief funds for hospital and behavioral health providers to retain and recruit staff.

“The Pennsylvania Fire and Emergency Services Institute (PFESI) commends the members of the General Assembly for passing Senate Bill 739, which will provide $25 million in grant funding to ambulance services,” said Jerry Ozog, executive director of PFESI. “Ambulance services were struggling to maintain operations even before the COVID-19 pandemic and Senate Bill 739 will provide much needed help. We are extremely thankful to the EMTs and paramedics in Pennsylvania who provide emergency care every day and night while enduring difficult conditions.”

Senate Bill 739 would ensure that all fire companies – whether volunteer, paid or combination department – are eligible for the low-interest loans through the Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Loan Program.  

“The Emergency Medical Services system in Pennsylvania has been under tremendous pressure since the onset of COVID. These pressures have manifested themselves into a variety of significant problems, such as financial stability and the ability to staff the ambulances,” said Anthony Deaven, vice president, Emergency Health Services Council. “The recognition of these system-wide problems by the legislature continues to show their commitment to meeting the emergency medical needs of the citizens of Pennsylvania.”

The funding will be distributed on a pro rata basis to EMS companies. Having received support from the Senate, the bill advances to the governor’s desk for signature. 

CONTACT: Katrina Hanna, 717-787-1463