All Across the Commonwealth, Pennsylvanians Are Hearing About Governor Shapiro’s Commitment to Building Safer Communities
April 07, 2023
Gov. Shapiro discussed his commonsense budget proposals to invest in safer communities, increase funding for equipment and training for firefighters, EMS providers, and 9-1-1 services
Harrisburg, PA – Since unveiling his first budget address a month ago, Governor Josh Shapiro has met with first responders across the Commonwealth to hear from them and discuss his budget’s commonsense proposals to help build safer communities.
Governor Shapiro visited the Montgomery County Emergency Operations Center in Eagleville, the Altoona Fire Department, Lancaster Fire Station 3, and Philadelphia Fire Department Engine 1 to learn firsthand about the challenges firefighters and EMS providers face and to share his budget proposal’s investments in equipment, training, and 9-1-1 services.
Pennsylvania faces a shortage of first responders, firefighters, and EMS providers. Since 2016, 9-1-1 emergency centers have faced worsening staffing shortages as the cost of running 9-1-1 communication systems has gone up 23 percent, but state funding has remained flat. In 2018, Pennsylvania had 22,000 fewer volunteer firefighters than in the early 2000s. Governor Shapiro’s budget proposes a $36 million increase for equipment and training for firefighters and emergency responders and over $50 million for 9-1-1 services.
See what frontline leaders across Pennsylvania are saying about Governor Shapiro’s budget investments in firefighters, EMS providers, and 9-1-1 services:
County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania President and Venango County Commissioner Chip Abramovic: “Our number one priority as county commissioners and all 67 counties across this Commonwealth is 9-1-1 funding. That’s bipartisan, apolitical, and is one of the key things that we need. This is critical to every single resident in our Commonwealth to get that funding.”
Deputy Director of Emergency Communications for Montgomery County Jennifer Cass: “Welcome home, Governor Shapiro, and thank you for bringing attention to the important topic of 9-1-1 funding in Pennsylvania. The heart of our 9-1-1 system is composed of county based 9-1-1 centers and their highly trained staff of telecommunicators. Governor Shapiro’s budget recognizes the challenges counties and 9-1-1 dispatchers face and invests over $50 million in that system and ties that funding to the cost of living, so we’ll keep up with rising costs.”
Altoona Fire Chief Adam Free: “Governor Shapiro’s investment in public safety across the Commonwealth will directly impact the budget and staffing shortfalls that so many public safety agencies face. Without this necessary funding, the safety and security of our citizens could be in jeopardy. I would like to thank Governor Shapiro for his commitment to public safety and for understanding our difficulties.”
City of Altoona Fire Fighter & Western Vice President, Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters Association Pat Miller: “Within days of taking office, Governor Shapiro and his team met with the Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters Association (PPFFA) in Harrisburg, asking what needed to be done to improve the fire and EMS services in Pennsylvania. The members of International Association of Fire Fighters Local 299 and the PPFFA want to thank Governor Shapiro for the continued support, understanding our needs and concerns, and working to improve emergency services across this great Commonwealth.”
Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace: “We need partnership to be able to ensure that we’re able to meet the most basic needs of Pennsylvanians every day, and we are looking to the Governor and appreciate his partnership coming here today and helping us bring this message to Harrisburg. Governor Shapiro’s budget offers needed support to cities like Lancaster to maintain and elevate our fire bureau’s work.”
Lancaster City Bureau of Fire Chief Todd Hutchinson: “We must recognize the vital role that our firefighters, EMS providers, and 911 dispatch centers play in keeping our communities safe. I would like to thank Governor Shapiro for his support and dedication for making all of Pennsylvania a safer place to live and continuing to give our first responders the tools and resources needed to do our jobs.”
See what Pennsylvanians have been seeing and reading about Governor Shapiro’s plans to build safer communities: