Harkins, Merski announce nearly $103,000 in fire, EMS grants

ERIE, June 30 -- State Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced that fire and rescue crews in their districts will be receiving $102,670 in state grant funding for equipment, training and other needed resources. 

“Our fire and EMS companies really took a hit during the pandemic,” Harkins said. “In addition to dealing with new risks and logistical issues, departments lost critical fundraising income because of shutdowns and restrictions. This grant funding should ease the burden a bit for those who work so hard at the front lines.”

Merski said: “Departments have been dealing with recruitment, retention and funding issues for years, but the past year added a whole new layer of challenges. This funding won’t solve the longstanding issues, but it will at least allow departments to upgrade aging equipment, perform building repairs and ensure crews have the ongoing training and other resources they need to stay safe on the job.” 

The lawmakers said the funding includes:

  • Belle Valley Fire Department Inc. – fire company, $12,767.
  • City of Erie Fire Department – fire company, $15,000.
  • EmergyCare Inc. – EMS, $8,993.
  • Lawrence Park Volunteer Fire Department – fire company, $11,698.
  • Lawrence Park Volunteer Fire Department – EMS, $8,993.
  • Perry Hi-Way Hose Co. – fire company, $15,000.
  • Perry Hi-Way Hose Co. – EMS, $8,993.
  • Wesleyville Hose Co. – fire company, $12,233.
  • Wesleyville Hose Co. – EMS, $8,993.

The grants come from the Fire Company and Emergency Medical Service Grant Program, which is administered by the Office of the State Fire Commissioner.

Eligible projects include construction or renovation of facilities; purchase or repair of equipment; fuel purchase; member training and certification; public safety education; recruitment and retention, debt reduction; overtime costs associated with backfilling positions while firefighters are training; and supplementation of operating expenses incurred by a lack of fundraising and pandemic-related measures.

Additional information, including a link to the full list of awardees county- and statewide, is available here.