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Wagner Announces 8 VFRA WorkshopsFor Firefighters in August, September and October
HARRISBURG, (July 15, 2010) – Auditor General Jack Wagner today announced the fall schedule for free workshops offered to officers and members of volunteer fire departments across the commonwealth, providing operational guidelines for Volunteer Firefighters’ Relief Associations.
The workshops are instructed by Department of the Auditor General employees. They give emergency service volunteers the opportunity to receive first-hand instruction on administrative procedures and to get answers about relief association-related matters.
"I am confident that this year’s workshops will provide VFRA members with the training, resources, and information they need to perform their duties as they generously volunteer their time to their communities,” Wagner said.
All VFRA workshop sessions begin at 7 p.m.:
Workshops held in the past were well-received by volunteer firefighters. One attendee stated: “As managing a relief association becomes more complex, the workshops are more important than ever.” Another noted about the presenters: “Very good. Your instructors know their information and are good at explaining it.” And still another stated: “Your workshop is very helpful to many relief associations. I hope you continue it.”
The 2010 edition of the department’s Management Guidelines for Volunteer Firefighters’ Relief Associations manual will be distributed at the workshops. This updated guide includes recent policy changes related to authorized expenditures for VFRAs and will be discussed in detail at the workshop. The new Management Guidelines is available on the Department of the Auditor General’s website at www.auditorgen.state.pa.us.
VFRAs are non-profit organizations established to afford financial protection to volunteer firefighters who are injured or killed as a result of their participation in the fire service. VFRAs receive state aid from a 2-percent state tax on fire insurance purchased by Pennsylvania residents from insurance companies incorporated outside of the commonwealth. These funds are used to pay for insurance to protect volunteer firefighters, to purchase fire equipment and to cover volunteer training expenses. VFRAs are distinct legal entities from fire companies.
In 2009, the Department of the Auditor General distributed more than $63.8 million to 1,957 local VFRAs in the state. The funds are primarily used to provide financial protection to volunteer emergency service personnel against any disability that might occur during participation in the fire service, as well as to purchase various types of fire equipment and to pay expenses to train volunteers.
Wagner’s strong support for fire departments and fire-related safety issues dates back to his own experience as an emergency medical technician at Citizens Ambulance Service in Indiana, Pennsylvania, working his way through college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
"I understand first-hand and have a deep respect for what volunteers do for our citizens and communities across the commonwealth,” Wagner said.
For additional information on future training sessions, call the Bureau of Firefighters’ Relief Audits at (717)-787-1308; or e-mail to: email@example.com.
Auditor General Jack Wagner is responsible for ensuring that all state money is spent legally and properly. He is the commonwealth’s elected independent fiscal watchdog, conducting financial audits, performance audits, and special investigations. The Department of the Auditor General conducts approximately 5,000 audits per year. To learn more about the Department of the Auditor General, taxpayers are encouraged to visit the department’s website at www.auditorgen.state.pa.us.
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