Category: Fire News

Fire and Emergency Service News

Bizzarro Joins Fight to Save Volunteer Fees


Joined by volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services providers at West Lake Fire Department, state Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro today voiced his support for legislation that would exempt emergency responders from paying more than $47 in fees for state and federal background clearances.

Bizzarro discussed H.B. 1081, which would excuse volunteer and paid firefighters and EMS providers from paying the $10 state Department of Human Services child abuse clearance fee, in addition to the $10 Pennsylvania State Police criminal background clearance fee. It would also waive FBI clearance fees, totaling nearly $30, provided the emergency responders have lived in Pennsylvania for the past 10 years and have clean records.

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Volunteer fire companies always searching for funding

091514-farmingtonBy Miles Layton and Steve Barrett – photo by Amanda Steen – Herald-Standard

When a fire breaks out, people expect a prompt response from the area men and women who, almost always, are volunteers that risk their lives.

But what many don’t consider is the cost to the departments, which, oftentimes, get by financially by selling hoagies, holding car washes, or spaghetti dinners, and selling tickets to gun or cash bashes.

First Assistant Chief George Matis at Republic Volunteer Fire Department in Fayette County said fundraising in these lean times is a challenge.

“It’s becoming more difficult to pay for everything, so we have to have fundraiser after fundraiser,” he said. “We have to work, work, work to get everything we need. But we have to do it to get the most professional and provide the best service that we can.”

Matis said the firefighting gear is expensive. For example, he said, one air pack, which is an essential part of firefighter’s gear, costs $8,000; special fire resistant pants and a jacket cost more than $2,300; portable radios — $1,300 to $3,500 each. Matis said a fire department can pay upwards of $500,000 for a truck.

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Oakland Fire Department Upgrades


A Cambria County Fire Department is making a switch that could potentially save them thousands of dollars a year.

We stopped by the Oakland Fire Department in suburban Johnstown on Monday to find out what it is all about.

It is what just about every homeowner, renter and business owner complains of every month when opening up the bills.

So the Oakland Fire Department took it into its own hands by simply unscrewing the bulbs and applying for a grant through Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund.

One by one, each and every light is changed to a LED light and the switch is estimated to save about seventy five percent annually for the Volunteer Fire Department where every penny counts.

Doing things like protecting the community and using the department’s donations to where it means the most.

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Monroeville firefighters hope hot photo calendar will help raise money

082814-monroeville-calendarBy Gideon Bradshaw Trib Total Media – photo by 445photography

Monroeville firefighters said they’ll try turning up the heat to raise money by selling a calendar that features photos of scantily clad women posing on trucks and in stations.

Fire Company 5 Chief Ron Harvey said the five all-volunteer fire companies that cover Monroeville think relying on taxpayers to upgrade the public safety training center on Johnston Road is not an option, particularly in light of other pressing public infrastructure needs and financial constraints.

Monroeville firefighters and first responders from other departments train at the center.

Harvey, who also is a Monroeville councilman, and the other fire chiefs plan to prepare a sample calendar before taking their proposal to elected officials “rather than give everybody the impression that this is some sort of porn calendar.”

“It’s an honorable project,” Harvey said. “It doesn’t insult anybody. It’s a fundraiser that doesn’t cost the taxpayers a penny.”

Female models donned firefighting gear and smoldering looks last weekend for a revealing shoot at two Monroeville fire stations.

Monroeville firefighters are not the first to think of using a racy calendar to save on public funds.

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Irwin VFD expecting new ladder truck by end of year

wpafn-logo-300By Tony LaRussa – Trib Total Media

The Irwin Volunteer Fire Department is expected to take delivery by year’s end on a new $700,000 ladder truck that is being built to order.

“We’ve just learned that the chassis, which took six weeks to build in Michigan, has been completed and transported to be finished in Nebraska,” Chad Mower, the fire company’s president, told borough council last week. “So, hopefully, we’ll be getting the new truck by no later than the end of the year.”

The truck, which is being financed, is being built by Smeal Fire Apparatus in Snyder, Neb., Mower said.

It will replace a 20-year-old vehicle that recently was sold for about $135,000 through a broker to the Wilder Rural Fire Protection District in Wilder, Idaho, he said.

A payment of $243,652 was wired to Smeal to cover the cost of the vehicle’s chassis, Mower said.

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Aspinwall Fire Department program to show children ins and outs of firefighting

082814-aspinwallBy Tom McGee – photo by Jan Pakler – Trib Total Media

The Aspinwall Volunteer Fire Department will show local children the ins and outs of being a firefighter.

The department will host a firefighter-exploration program for youths Sept. 13, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Fire Chief Gene Marsico said children between the ages of 9 and 14 will learn about different aspects of working with the department.

“They’ll get a little taste of what it is to be a volunteer fireman,” Marsico said.

The five stations setup will be — a demonstration with Gage, the department’s dog; a fire-extinguisher demonstration; a hose-line station; a safety trailer; and a rescue demonstration.

Participants will learn basic safety and first-aid tips throughout the day, Marsico said.

For older children, the hope is that some might decide to join the department.

Youths can begin to sign up to be a junior firefighter when they are 15. Four people currently serve as junior fire fighters in Aspinwall.

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Bond issue to finance 911 center, other projects

wpafn-logo-300By Debbie Wachter – New Castle News

Lawrence County is going to borrow $20 million for a new 911 center and various upgrades.

At their meeting Tuesday, the county commissioners unanimously approved the sales agreement for a 20-year-bond issue.

 The $20,185,000 will be used to finance the new public safety center, revamp the county’s emergency radio system and make upgrades to the courthouse, the Gettings Annex and the jail.

The bond issue also will provide funds for a capitalized interest fund, for refunding and restructuring some of the county’s debt, and to pay the cost of issuing the notes, according to a letter the commissioners received from bond underwriters Boenning and Scattergood Inc. of Pittsburgh.

County Controller David Gettings said the loan payback will not require a tax increase.

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