HARRISBURG – Critical members of volunteer fire companies, ambulance corps and rescue squads who are injured in the line of duty would qualify for workers’ compensation coverage under a bill approved by the Senate today and sent to the governor, according to the bill’s sponsors, Senators Scott Martin (R-13) and Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28).
Senate Bill 94 would ensure coverage for all active volunteers and integral members of a volunteer fire, ambulance or rescue company insured through the State Workers Insurance Fund (SWIF). The legislation would apply to 1,550 volunteer fire companies and 92 ambulance organizations that are insured by SWIF.
A Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee hearing in 2017 highlighted problems related to SWIF denying coverage to these critical volunteers.
“The volunteers who dedicate so much of their time and effort to protecting our lives and property should not have to worry about the financial consequences if they are injured in the course of their duties,” Martin said. “They deserve to know that we will stand up for them when they need us most.”
“Many men and women serve in various capacities with our volunteer fire companies, EMT and ambulance associations,” Phillips-Hill said. “This issue was brought to me by a local constituent who was denied worker’s compensation after being injured during a fire company carnival. This bill will provide peace of mind to all volunteers across the Commonwealth to ensure that no matter the capacity in which you volunteer, that the law protects you.”
The legislation is part of a broader focus by lawmakers on the challenges facing fire and EMS companies throughout the state. The Senate also approved a comprehensive package of bipartisan reforms this week to improve the delivery of fire services throughout the state, including improvements to grant and loan programs dedicated to serve fire companies.
CONTACT: Terry Trego (717) 787-6535 (Senator Martin)