HARRISBURG – The Senate Labor and Industry Committee approved a bill today that would ensure critical members of volunteer firefighter organizations who are injured in the line of duty can qualify for workers’ compensation coverage, according to the bill’s sponsors, Senators Scott Martin (R-13) and Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28).
Senate Bill 94 would ensure all active duty volunteer firefighters, fire police, officers or directors of a volunteer fire company, and integral members of a volunteer fire company are covered under the state’s workers’ compensation program.
A Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee hearing in 2017 regarding the challenges facing volunteer fire companies included a discussion of problems related to the State Workers Insurance Fund (SWIF) denying coverage to these critical volunteers; claims that were previously covered.
“Members of volunteer fire companies provide an incredible service by protecting our communities from harm, so we owe it to them to ensure they are protected when they are injured in the course of their duties,” Martin said. “It takes a special kind of person to give something to the community without expecting anything in return. They deserve the peace of mind to know that we will stand behind them when they need us.”
“Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes; and they fulfill a variety of necessary roles within our volunteer services. Treasurers, administrators, auxiliary members, mechanics and firefighters are all valued members of the volunteer services,” Phillips-Hill said. “Failing to provide these individuals with coverage against losses they suffer due to injuries they sustain while engaged in volunteer activities is unacceptable.”
Senate Bill 94 was sent to the full Senate for consideration.
You can listen to Senator Phillips-Hill’s remarks here.
Terry Trego (717) 787-6535 (Senator Martin)
Jon Hopcraft (717) 787-7085 (Senator Phillips-Hill)