State, county officials speak with firefighters
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Talking with Dave Wertman, center, newly installed President of the SCVFA and firefighter with the American Hose Company in Tamaqua, are, from left, Schuylkill County Commissioner Gary Hess, Senator Argall, Representative Knowles and Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage.
A number of county and state officials spoke with volunteer firefighters from all parts of Schuylkill County at the Schuylkill County Volunteer Firefighters' Association (SCVFA) quarterly meeting in Frackville Sunday afternoon.
Gathered in Friendship Fire Company, the elected officials discussed a number of issues significant to the county's first responders.
"We are all here to say thank you for what you do and listen to your concerns," said Senator David Argall (R-29).
Recently appointed to chair, the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, Argall has been asked by local firefighters to have the Committee support legislation requiring additional carbon monoxide detectors. Argall cited a local tragedy in which a well-known Tamaqua couple passed away in their sleep due to carbon monoxide poisoning. "This is a commonsense reform that has the potential to be a lifesaver throughout the state," stressed Argall.
Representative Jerry Knowles (R-124) spent time talking to firefighters about the new Small Games of Chance law. The Pa. Department of Revenue recently announced that annual reporting will be delayed until February 2014.
"When it comes to small games of chance, we walk a thin line," said Knowles. "On one hand, we need reporting requirements that will prevent people from walking away with thousands of hard earned dollars raised by these volunteer organizations. On the other, we certainly don't want to tie their hands and make it more difficult to raise their needed funds--Easier said than done."
Knowles also stated the importance of the state grant program. "I urge all volunteer fire companies and ambulance services to take advantage of the $25 million grant program. Failure to do so just might send a false message to the General Assembly that you don't need those dollars," encouraged Knowles.
Association members encouraged anyone wanting more information about the SCVFA, to visit their webpage at http://www.schcountytrainingacademy.com/schuylkill-county-firefighters-association.