HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Pennsylvania Senate gave final approval to a measure that is intended to make firefighter training more accessible and affordable through online courses.
Senate Bill 146 ensures that online training would be voluntary and free to both career and volunteer firefighters. All available courses would be listed online, and developed under the leadership of the state Fire Commissioner.
“Studies on firefighter recruitment and retention challenges have consistently shown that volunteers are pointing to training requirements and fundraising demands as factors that take a significant toll on their time, money and availability,” said Mastriano, noting that there were 300,000 volunteer firefighters here in 1970, but fewer than 40,000 today.
The Senate passed the legislation unanimously Monday.
“Our volunteer firefighters sacrifice a lot of their own time and interests to protect our communities,” said Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill. “This is a commonsense reform that will make training more accessible and affordable for the men and women who want to serve their communities.”
Training requirements are often cited as a barrier to recruitment and retention, particularly for volunteers, because they can be costly and time-consuming, often demanding travel and time away from work and family.
The Senate Resolution 6 Commission recommended online training as one of its core suggestions to ease the staffing burden on today’s firefighters.
Senate Bill 146 now goes to the governor for his signature.