For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Halvonik (717) 787-1381
Wagner Announces Fall VFRA Workshops for Local Firefighters
Auditor General wants to see funding in place for community volunteers
HARRISBURG, (July 9, 2009) – Auditor General Jack Wagner today announced the fall schedule for free workshops offered to officers and members of volunteer fire departments providing operational guidelines for Volunteer Firefighters’ Relief Associations.
"These workshops provide volunteer firefighters with the training, information and resources needed to meet the guidelines of this important funding source,” Wagner said.
"Firefighters are at the forefront of community safety, and it is vital to the residents of Pennsylvania that this funding be restored,” Wagner said.
All VFRA Workshop sessions begin at 7 p.m.:
- Sept. 1, Boalsburg Vol. Fire Company, 113 E. Pine St., Boalsburg, Centre County
- Sept. 3, Ridgeway Fire Department, 30 N. Broad St., Ridgeway, Elk County
- Sept. 15, Fayetteville Vol. Fire Department, 101 W. Main St., Fayetteville, Franklin County
- Sept. 16, Citizens Hose Company, 111 Stitzer Ave., Wernersville, Berks County
- Oct. 15, Bethel Park Vol. Fire Company, 5213 Brightwood Rd., Bethel Park, Allegheny County
- Oct. 20, Upper Saucon Vol. Fire Department, 4445 West Hopewell Rd., Center Valley, Lehigh County
- Oct. 22, Unionville Vol. Fire Company, 102 Mahood Rd., Butler, Butler County
- Oct. 27, Towanda Fire Department, 3 Elm St., Towanda, Bradford County
- Oct. 29, Pocono Township Vol. Fire Company, Route 611, Tannersville, Monroe County
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 have questions answered about relief association-related matters.
Workshops held in the spring were well-received by volunteer firefighters, who offered such comments as: “Personal, knowledgeable and well prepared. [I] learned a few new things that will help make the job easier.” One attendee stated: “Each time I attend one of these sessions I pick up on one or two new ideas on how to do my position as treasurer.” And still another stated: “The program was put on with great skill and excellent information. The auditors were very helpful.”
Copies of the new 2008 edition of the Management Guidelines for Volunteer Firefighters’ Relief Associations manual are distributed at the workshops. The manual can also be found on the Auditor General website, www.auditorgen.state.pa.us.
The Volunteer Firefighters’ Relief Association program was established in 1895 through a 2-percent state levy on foreign fire insurance premiums.
Last year, the Department of the Auditor General distributed more than $70 million to 1,959 volunteer firefighters’ relief associations 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.
The Department of the Auditor General has the responsibility to audit volunteer firefighters’ relief associations to make sure that VFRA funds are properly spent.
Wagner’s strong support for fire departments and fire-related safety issues date back to his collegiate days at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he worked as an emergency medical technician with Citizens Ambulance Service.
"I understand first-hand and have a deep respect for what volunteers do for our 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 more than 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.