Bipartisan Bill Will Help Rural Fire Departments Recruit and Retain Volunteers
Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, Congressmen Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and David B. McKinley (R-WV) introduced bipartisan legislation to help volunteer firefighters and other first responders who keep our communities safe. The bill creates a tax deduction for volunteer first responders and will help Volunteer Fire Departments and other public safety organizations recruit and retain volunteers.
“I’d like to thank Representatives McKinley and Loebsack for introducing this important legislation,” said Chief Philip C. Stittleburg, Chairman of the National Volunteer Fire Council. “The services donated by volunteer emergency response personnel are valued at more than $140 billion annually and the average responder donates services worth more than $18,000 each year. At the same time, local agencies are increasingly struggling to recruit and retain volunteer firefighters and EMTs. This common sense bill would help bolster staffing in volunteer public safety agencies by allowing responders to claim a portion of the value of the services they donate each year as a charitable donation.”
“Our volunteer firefighters stand ready to serve us the moment disaster strikes. They donate their time and energy to keep us safe, and we can do more to support their critical role in our communities,” said Loebsack. “Over 90% of Iowa’s firefighters are volunteers, and this tax credit would provide an important recruitment tool for Fire Departments to maintain the level of staffing that they need to do their jobs. I am pleased to work on a bipartisan basis with Rep. McKinley to advance this important legislation.”
“Small towns across West Virginia and the country rely on volunteers to respond to fires, accidents, and other emergencies,” said McKinley. “Yet these same men and women are often forced to raise money to simply have adequate equipment and training. We can do more to help them.”
“We’ve had a number of meetings with Volunteer Fire Departments across West Virginia, and the number one issue they have is recruiting volunteers and keeping them,” said McKinley. “This solution will help fix that problem and demonstrates the respect earned by volunteer emergency personnel.”
The bill provides a tax deduction for hours of service each year volunteered for fire-fighting and prevention services, emergency medical services, ambulance services, civil air patrol, and emergency rescue services.