HARRISBURG – Legislation sponsored by Sen. Pat Stefano (R-32) that would allow junior firefighters, aged 17, to train on live-burn, interior firefighter modules was passed with strong bipartisan support on Monday.
“Given the increasing difficulties fire companies have in recruiting and retaining volunteers, we have to capitalize on the interest young people have rather than barring them from completing the training for activity that attracted them in the first place. We can maintain their enthusiasm for helping their communities and saving lives safely with my bill,” Stefano said.
To participate in live burns, junior firefighters would need their parent or guardian’s permission, and local fire chief’s permission. The training would be completed under the instruction of a credentialed Pennsylvania State Fire Academy instructor.
“Permitting junior firefighters to complete interior fire training will better prepare them to help Pennsylvania communities immediately when they turn 18 years old,” said Jerry Ozog, executive director of the Pennsylvania Fire and Emergency Services Institute. “Sen. Stefano clearly understands the challenges facing Pennsylvania’s volunteer fire companies, and we thank him for his continued efforts to help Pennsylvania’s volunteer fire companies.”
Senate Bill 1027, approved by the Senate on June 13 and by the House of Representatives on Monday, now moves to the governor’s desk for final approval.
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