December 18, 2013 —
HARRISBURG, PA — Sen. Lisa Baker has helped pass legislation in the Pennsylvania Senate to to help volunteer fire companies buy needed equipment through state-sponsored low-interest loans. The bill to increase the loan limits on the Volunteer Loan Assistance Program (VLAP) passed the Senate 49-0 and now heads to the governor’s desk for signature.
“Fire companies throughout the state are losing volunteers at an alarming rate,” Baker said. “This decline is often linked to the amount of time our first responders must spend at chicken barbeques, bingo games and other fundraisers. The VLAP program eases the fundraising burden on our volunteers, helps to attract and retain firefighters and ultimately aids in protecting and saving the victims of fire, motor vehicle accidents and other life-and-death emergencies.”
House Bill 1706 doubles the amount of money fire companies are permitted to borrow for equipment and apparatus under the loan program. Loan limits have not changed in more than 40 years, although the price of equipment has increased fivefold in many cases.