Senators Support New Law to Aid Volunteer Fire, EMS Companies

VLAP Expansion Supports PA Manufacturers

HARRISBURG – Senators David G. Argall (R-29) and John Yudichak (D-14) applauded enactment of a new law that will help volunteer fire and EMS companies finance equipment purchases while supporting Pennsylvania’s manufacturing industry.

House Bill 1706, which was recently signed into law, doubles the current loan limits for the Volunteer Loan Assistance Program (VLAP) for the purchase, repair or rehabilitation of vehicles, equipment and facilities.

Under the new loan limits, volunteer fire, EMS and ambulance companies are eligible for low-interest loans of up to $200,000 to cover up to 50 percent of the cost to purchase new vehicles and apparatus.

“Many of the volunteer fire, EMS and ambulance companies in our area have voiced concerns regarding the up-front cost of new equipment purchases,” Argall said. “Increasing the loan limits will help volunteer organizations keep their focus on saving lives and protecting property without the added stress of wondering how they will afford the equipment they need.”

The new law also includes a provision that allows volunteer companies to exceed loan limits by up to $20,000 for the purchase of equipment that is manufactured in Pennsylvania, providing a strong incentive for volunteer companies to support Pennsylvania manufacturers.

“This law will significantly improve the ability of our local emergency responders and fire departments to upgrade and update their equipment by making more funding available,” Yudichak said. “This is another positive step toward improving the safety of our communities.”

“I am pleased that the legislature is continuing its support of Pennsylvania first responders with additional funding opportunities for facilities, equipment and apparatus,” said Kovatch Mobile Equipment Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer John J. Kovatch III. “As one of several Pennsylvania truck manufacturers, I am proud that the bill also supports PA jobs by offering additional resources to fire departments purchasing apparatus built in the Commonwealth.”

The VLAP extension was financed by existing bond issues and does not require the use of additional state tax dollars.