HARRISBURG – Critical members of volunteer fire companies, ambulance corps and rescue squads who are injured in the line of duty will qualify for workers’ compensation coverage under a bill signed into law on Tuesday, according to the bill’s sponsors, Senators Scott Martin (R-13) and Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28).
Act 108 of 2020 ensures all active volunteers and integral members of a volunteer fire, ambulance or rescue company are covered through the State Workers Insurance Fund (SWIF). The law applies 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.
“We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the brave volunteers who protect our lives and property. It is inconceivable to think that they could be left to deal with the financial consequences if they are injured in the line of duty,” Martin said. “This new law ensures their focus can remain on their life-saving work with the peace of mind to know that we have their back if anything goes wrong.”
“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 new law takes effect immediately.
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 last week to improve the delivery of fire services throughout the state, including improvements to grant and loan programs dedicated to fire companies.
CONTACT: Terry Trego (717) 787-6535 (Senator Martin)
Jon Hopcraft (717) 787-7085 (Senator Phillips-Hill)