Farry, DeFoor Host Educational Session for Volunteer Fire Relief Associations in Buck County

HARRISBURG – Sen. Frank Farry (R-6) hosted an educational session last week with Pennsylvania Auditor General Timothy DeFoor for volunteer fire relief associations in Bucks County.

The Department of the Auditor General administers state aid for Volunteer Firefighters’ Relief Associations (VFRAs) and conducts audits to oversee their use of funds, which are derived from a 2% tax on fire insurance policies sold by out-of-state companies in Pennsylvania. In 2023, $67.44 million was allocated to 2,519 municipalities for distribution to VFRAs, supporting training, equipment purchases, insurance and death benefits for volunteer firefighters. To aid VFRAs during audits, the department provides management guidelines for Volunteer Firefighters’ Relief Associations.

While serving in the House of Representatives, Farry sponsored House Bill 1673, now Act 91 of 2020, to expand and enhance several fire and emergency medical services programs. The legislation addresses ongoing challenges within the first responder community. Key improvements include enhanced grant and loan programs for fire companies and a new initiative to support the recruitment and retention of fire personnel.

“Volunteer firefighters are the backbone of our communities, showcasing selflessness and courage in the face of danger,” Farry said. “It’s crucial that we support them by ensuring they have access to the resources and funding they need to effectively carry out their vital roles.”

Earlier this year, DeFoor announced a transformation in audit procedures for VFRAs, implementing limited engagement procedures. This approach allows the department to allocate resources effectively by prioritizing more thorough reviews for VFRAs that require more in-depth reviews.

“Volunteer firefighters are essential to keeping our communities safe and we have to do everything we can to support them,” DeFoor said. “Our job is to help them understand their role in accounting for the state aid they receive to make sure the funds are being spent properly. Events like this give VFRAs an opportunity to ask questions and get feedback.”

State Reps. Kristin Marcell (R-178) and Joe Hogan (R-142) also attended the event.

CONTACT: Nicole McGerry

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