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  1. #1
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    Default Pennsylvania Fire funding

    Hey Pennsylvania Firefighters,

    As you know Governor Ridge has eliminated much of the grant money that is earmarked for Pennsylvania's fire departments. The governer apparently felt it more important to give money to stadiums in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and give thousnads of dollars to a FOR PROFIT regatta here in Pittsburgh.

    I think it is high time that we remind the government of this commonwealth that funding its fire departments means saving taxpayer money and lives. Pennsylvania has more departments than any other state in the union, and its time for the members of the volunteer & paid, Rescue, EMS and Fire departments get the money we rightfully deserve.

    It is time for us to write to our state Representitives and Senators and even the Governor himself and tell them if they want to stay in there offices, they need to fund emergency services, and if they dont fund emergency services, ask who's gonna be there when they are sick, injured or their house is on fire.

    You can find the contact numbers and e-mail addresses for your representitives @

    web page

    Find your rep. and write to them today.
    Shawn MacIntyre EMT
    Pittsburgh EMS EMT-2
    Fraternal Assoc. of Prof. Paramedics


  2. #2
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    Default

    PghEMTmac:

    We have a great relationship with our rep., he grew up across the street from our station, and was always interested in our well being, and has always helped us when he could. We too, pushed him to push Gov. Ridge when we heard about the no go on this years grant...and he and other reps and sen. pushed and pushed, but apparently gov. ridge could care less....he figures we got money last year, so that's enough. Keep your fingers crossed for next year though, there's talk about another one.
    Neptune 33

  3. #3
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    next year is not enough, departments are going to go under this year beacuse the state money was not available.
    Look at Avonmore Ambulance. if state money was there, they wouldnt be facing closing there doors leaving 2 boroughs w/o an ambulance.
    Shawn MacIntyre EMT
    Pittsburgh EMS EMT-2
    Fraternal Assoc. of Prof. Paramedics

  4. #4
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    Default

    Just a note...it wasn't the Governor. It's not an election year, and there were other issues. Keep up the political pressure on the legislators. Politics are tough, and there is a lot of give and take going on on this type of funding, and this year, we lost.
    Glenn Usdin, Fire Chief
    Lancaster Township FD, PA

  5. #5
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    Default

    Welcome to this board Glenn! I see you've already been rated....
    Neptune 33

  6. #6
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    Default

    Kind of show's you where the priorities of the people of this state are as far as fire safety. The loss of the fire grants, the annual underfunding of the 2% loan program. No uniform state wide building code for fire safety. Plus to top it all off, the newest set of rules governing fire training. I went to a training burn in April, it actually cost the department $500 just to put the class on due to the new fee schedule. How many times a year could your department afford this? It's hard enough to get memebers to train, let alone now making it costly on top of everything. Just my two cents. God bless and stay safe.
    Randall E. Guntrum FF/EMT
    If lights, sirens, and air horns do not attract the attention of a driver, he or she is too drunk to be assisted by a paint scheme.

  7. #7
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    Default

    reminds me of a quote I saw on here: "We've been doing so much with so little, soon we can do everything with nothing."
    I may have butchered that a little, but you get the gist.
    It is better to try and fail, then quit and succeed.

  8. #8
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    Default

    It seems pretty ridiculous to keep sitting back and allow the politicians and others continue showing such a lack of respect for the services that we provide. They are the first to cut funding and the first to yell the loudest when the help is not there in what they feel is a timely manor. They only remember us when they need us. It is time to let them know in a very strong showing just what the PA fire service does for the state.

  9. #9
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    Default

    Its time for a march on harrisburg, trucks are falling apart, stations are falling down, and some companies bunker gear is older than me ( that's really not a joke, and I turn 30 this year).

    Harrisburg thinks that we bring in a ton of money on bingo, monte carlo night and dept. festivals. However, they never seem to see what we have to pay out for insurance, repairs, training and equipment. They also don't seem to realize that guidelines from the state and federal governments make the money we pay out increase constantly.

    Rep. Sean Logan (Monroeville) sent out the cry for fiefighters to go to harrisburg. and i think its high time we went.
    Shawn MacIntyre EMT
    Pittsburgh EMS EMT-2
    Fraternal Assoc. of Prof. Paramedics

  10. #10
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    PA
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    Default

    OK then how do we get something started? Petition? March? Pay off some Politician??

    But on a serious note... We do need to get together as a fire service, no paid or just volly's but as a whole and get some things changed in PA. Just look at the attempts for the limited federal $. I think about every company who knew how to pick up a pen applied. Let me tell you there are some hurt'n companies out there....some are just requesting simple stuff as hose or somthing better than a pick-up truck with a 55 gallon drum as a first attack engine. I spoke with a fire Chief who was an evaluator and he amazed by how poorly funded fire companies are not just in this state but across the country. I hope something besides a discussion can come of this.

    [ 07-13-2001: Message edited by: jizumper-5 ]
    Keep Safe!

  11. #11
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    Default

    Just a little update for you all. the governor can cut VFD funding by $30 Million, but now he wants you all to buy software that he'll probably get a kickback for.


    N E W S R E L E A S E COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
    Office of State Fire Commissioner
    Commonwealth News Bureau
    Room 308, Main Capitol
    Harrisburg, PA 17120

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Marko Bourne, PEMA
    (717) 651-2139

    RIDGE ADMINISTRATION TO PROVIDE INCIDENT-REPORTING SOFTWARE
    TO EVERY FIRE DEPARTMENT IN THE COMMONWEALTH
    Will give fire departments and local emergency-management agencies ability
    to track fire incidents for first time

    HARRISBURG (July 11) ?- Highlighting Gov. Tom Ridge's ongoing commitment
    to


    Pennsylvania's fire-services community,


    Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker today announced that the Office of the State Fire
    Commissioner (OSFC) will purchase more than 2,400 software licenses and
    maintenance agreements to enable every fire department statewide to track
    and report exposure to infectious diseases -? enhancing their ability to
    track fires and emergencies.
    The Lieutenant Governor said that, by using $700,000 from a Hepatitis
    C education and prevention line item in the 2000-01 state budget, the new
    initiative will provide fire departments with the ability to track first
    responders' exposures to infectious diseases like Hepatitis C.
    "We have been working for several years to develop a statewide
    fire-incident reporting system," said Lt. Gov. Schweiker, who chairs the
    Pennsylvania Emergency Management Council. "Our fire and emergency
    responders need this information not only for injury-prevention,
    fire-prevention and infectious-disease prevention programs, but also to
    improve their understanding of how to better provide these critical but
    costly
    services that are so essential to our communities' safety.


    "The long awaited Pennsylvania Fire Information Reporting System
    (PennFIRS) will be able to move forward quickly thanks to this funding."
    "The Hepatitis C education and awareness program we have been developing
    will benefit significantly from this project. After consulting with the
    legislative sponsors of the budget line item and the Department of Health,
    this is a wonderful benefit for emergency providers to use this program
    as
    a way to track potential exposures to infectious diseases like Hep. C. "By
    providing this tracking mechanism, we are helping firefighters identify
    possible exposures to assist them in early diagnosis and treatment, as well
    as documenting job-related exposures for insurance needs."For the past five
    years, the PennFIRS Task Force has been assisting the OSFC with development
    of this statewide fire-information reporting system. In 1997 the Task
    Force conducted a survey of the state's fire departments and found
    extensive support for a statewide reporting system. Today, that support
    continues. With the help of departments from across the state, the Task
    Force conducted a number of pilot studies, ranging from a paper version
    of
    the new National Fire Incident Reporting (NFIRS) software to using
    state-of-the-art computer software based on the old NFIRS (4.1) protocols
    and participating in beta testing of the new NFIRS software. "From the very
    beginning, the OSFC and the PennFIRS Task Force agreed that, in order to
    provide the kind of electronic data collection that we needed, we would
    have to wait for the release of the New NFIRS 5.0 software that was under
    development by the U.S. Fire Administration," said State Fire Commissioner
    Edward Mann. "The very complicated nature of that software and the amount
    of volunteer time that went into its development extended development time
    into this year.

    "By harnessing the power and accessibility features of Gov. Ridge's
    PA
    PowerPort and e-Government initiatives, we will develop a digital network
    that quickly and easily moves data and provides access to the information
    everyone needs to provide better, safer service. We look forward to
    working with county and regional organizations and agencies to establish
    data-collection networks and centers to facilitate the flow of
    information." The State Fire Commissioner's office will be meeting with
    these collection groups to discuss networking and training needs and
    opportunities. As this year progresses, the OFSC will begin connecting
    interested networking/collection centers to the statewide database.
    Shawn MacIntyre EMT
    Pittsburgh EMS EMT-2
    Fraternal Assoc. of Prof. Paramedics

  12. #12
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    Default

    I would really like to ask Mr. Ridge why the assistance to the PA fire and EMS service was cut out in favor of the regatta. The City of Pittsburgh has enough resources to privately fund this event. In fact this is an event that really sould not be put on by the taxpayers at all, enough of that though. I live approximately 20 miles to the north and west of Avonmore and I can tell you the area as a whole is depressed up here. There are some fire companies and EMS outfits up here that don't know how they are going to keeps the doors open until next year. The volunteer service is in real trouble. I just find it really ironic that a service whose entire mission is to respond to help those in need gets the cold shoulder when it finds it self in need. Write your congressmen, senators, The Governor, and The President. This is a big problem with huge consequences and it needs help.

    [ 07-14-2001: Message edited by: fc80chief ]

  13. #13
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    Its time to quit making Gov. Ridge the scapegoat of this years grant cuts and put the blame on who is responsible. The Gov. had originally placed the fire grant in this years budget, which by the way passed the House of Representatives. The measure was cut by THE SENATE of Pennsylvania before the vote was brought back to the house. PA has experienced 2 years of unmatched (at least for PA) funding for volunteer fire departments. Can you tell me of another time when our great state made this committment? Call your local senator and ask him if you dont believe me. As a political committee member and a candidate, I keep track of all of our states fire funding, and although it is pitiful when you compare it to the $6,000,000,000 we save the state each year, it is unfair to blame Gov. Ridge. March on Harrisburg? Let me know when.

  14. #14
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    I have to agree somewhat that the responsibility for the cut does not totally fall on Mr. Ridge's shoulders, but at the same time he is the man that pulls the strings. He ultimately decides the fate of issues such as this. Like I said in an earlier post, it is time (way past time) to start making some noise with the politicians and the public in general. People do not realize the money that the Fire Service of PA saves them. When I say make some noise, this should not be taken as an attack on the politicians, etc., but rather an educational venture. We really need to take some time and blow our own horns as to what we do and educate people on what we need from them to provide the vital service that we do. At the same time we should also realize we need to keep ourselves accountable for how we spend the money. We have to keep our image in check. It seems that we in the fire service sometimes spend too much time sitting back and complaining about things (me included) rather than take action. We need to come up with a plan for a solution and start to positively promote ourselves to our politicians and communities. It seems like at times all we get is negative press... Firefighter sets fire...(Just one stupid person like this ruins our image-Ironically as I type this there is a show on MSNBC about FF who started fires). I, like others are am willing to do this, but this has to be a total team effort - not just the effort of a few.

    [ 07-22-2001: Message edited by: PeskyFF ]

    [ 07-22-2001: Message edited by: PeskyFF ]

  15. #15
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    I am all for something to get done to get us some more funding. Right now would be the worst time to do a march. The goverment is on vacation for July and Aug. I have always noticed that the Fire/EMS service always gets the short end of the funding bag. And it is also sad that some companies have gear that is 30 years old as front line. I think that some small compaines in the most depressed parts of the state should get Uncle Tom to stop by for a visit to show him was we face. If he sees it for himself, then he might just understand out point of view, at least to start. This is just my own views on this subject.

    Kyle
    Kyle
    www.chalfontfireco.com

  16. #16
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    The pressure needs to be put on our current Representatives and Senators. Gov. Ridge is in his last term, so re-election is not a viable threat to him. Meet and greet the upcoming candidates for Governor and explain to them our perils. I for one have had dinner with the Governor a few times and he is very in tune with volunteer fire departments. In dedicating a new bypass in the area, the first vehicle driven over it was a fire engine, and that engine was driven by Governor Ridge. As I have stated before, have we had a former Governor do as much for fire service as Ridge has. Maybe some or our "old timers" can help let us know. I have only been chief for 5 years and active for 15, so I may not know alot of PA history with support from the Governors office

  17. #17
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    I believe a "parade" of apparatus on Harrisburg would bring some attention to our problem, although maybe we should leave our shiniest pieces at home. Imagine what the Turnpike, I-81, I-83, Routes 11, 15, and 322 would look like.
    Also, a series of similar petitions passed around on the county levels and presented to the General Assembly and Governor at one time would send a clear message as well.
    Who is the best to organize this all?

  18. #18
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    Ladies and gentlemen what we have to do is become united under one voice. Register to vote as many members as we have and their families, this way we have some power when we talk to our elected officials. Believe it or not I think if we got our act together we would have one very large voting block for our senators and reps to deal with. When we speak they would most likely listen to us.
    As for governor Ridge a few months ago I sent him and my area senators a copy of how one of the New England states where giving the volunteer fire fighters a property tax break. Governor Ridge took the time to read my email and respond. My local senator never even acknowledged me. Just my 2 cents worth and if we are going to Harrisburg just name the date!!!

  19. #19
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    Is Monday of Fire Prevention Week too late to impact next fiscal year's budget? The news media are already drawing the people's (voter's) attention to fire safety, maybe we can expand the message.

  20. #20
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    My opinion:

    1. Pennsylvania alone has too many volunteer fire departments.

    2. Allegheny County is terrible with the number of volunteer fire departments.

    3. There is no need to have 2-3-4 and even 5 fire companies in an area of maybe 6 square miles.

    4. There is no way the state can give funds to every fire/ems agency when it is ran like it is in PA.

    Solution: Combine the little departments, reduce the costs, gain manpower, and get the funding that is available.

    This is my thoughts, and are straight from my mouth and not my organization. Its time to advance in the fire service, and not sit here and complain about the funding that is not available. Politicians can only do some much for a community.

    When I started in the fire service 11 years ago, I can recall 3 rescue trucks that actually had hurst systems etc in the immediate area, and now everyone has one, and everyone has a ladder truck etc. Its nice to have all the tools, all the toys, and all the gadgets, but when you only run 30-40 calls a year, why do you want the best and most expensive toys? Mutual AId is the way these days, and until the smaller departments combine, it will never change.

    Take Care and Be Safe.

    [ 07-25-2001: Message edited by: Scene25 ]
    John Williams
    NRFF1
    City of Clairton
    Fire / EMS

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