Senate Approves Bill to Protect Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Injured Volunteer Fire, EMS Personnel

Harrisburg – Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24) said 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 this week.

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).

A Senate hearing in 2017 identified the problem of these public safety volunteers being denied workers’ compensation coverage.

The legislation would apply to 1,550 volunteer fire companies and 92 ambulance organizations that are insured by SWIF. The bill would only apply to active volunteers. Social members would not be included.

“For communities to be able to respond to emergencies around the clock, it takes much more than the actual first responders,” said Mensch. “It takes fire police and others who provide support maintaining the station, organizing fundraisers, providing IT support, assisting with recruitment, and other administrative tasks. These volunteers should be covered if injured while performing their duties.”

The legislation is part of a broader focus by lawmakers on the challenges facing fire and EMS companies throughout the state. Last week, the Senate approved two bills to expand grant and loan programs for fire and EMS companies and support volunteer recruitment and retention programs.

Senate Bill 94 was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

For more information on Senator Mensch’s legislation, visit www.senatormensch.com.  State updates can also be found on Senator Mensch’s Facebook at facebook.com/PASenatorBobMensch/ or Twitter @SenatorMensch.

 

CONTACT: Madison Scarfaro mscarfaro@pasen.gov  (215) 541-2388