– Facing a massive shortage of volunteer firefighters, the House Labor and Industry Committee today unanimously approved a bill by Rep. Torren Ecker (R-Adams/Cumberland) to prepare junior firefighters for becoming full firefighters.
“Pennsylvania’s junior firefighter program is a great steppingstone to prepare older teens for a career in firefighting and continuing to serve their communities for decades to come through volunteerism,” Ecker, a former junior firefighter, said. “However, current state law makes the transition between a junior firefighter and a full firefighter difficult as you cannot take the required classes until you turn 18.”
To fix this issue, Ecker introduced House Bill 2268
to allow a 17-year-old junior firefighter to complete the Interior Firefighting Module with Live Burns training program in the Fire Training System. Currently, only people age 18 and over are allowed to enroll in the training program.
In order to take the additional training at 17, junior firefighters would need to have the permission of their parents and fire chief. This would mean that when a junior firefighter turns 18 years old, he or she would immediately be able to serve their communities as a full-fledged firefighter.
“Our volunteer fire departments are run by our friends, family and neighbors and provide a vital service to our communities. Unfortunately, they are facing massive volunteer shortages,” Ecker said. “We must assist them where we are able. I am happy to do my part by sponsoring this bill.”
House Bill 2268 now goes to the full House for consideration.
Representative Torren Ecker
193rd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross
www.RepEcker.com / Facebook.com/RepTorrenEcker