For some members of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, the heat is on. A few state Representatives suited up in fire gear to see what it’s like to be a firefighter. Lawmakers say this allows them to better understand how they can help first responders.

“It’s also good to have, in between the break between simulations, to talk to these folks about what exactly we can do for them from a state and federal perspective, the type of legislation out there, and really focus on what they need us to do to better their professions,” says Representative Ryan Bizzarro (D-Erie).

A few members of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee participated training exercises at the Allegheny Fire Academy. Representative Bizzarro says the experience was eye-opening, and says he has a whole new level of appreciation for these brave men and women.

“I’ve been in hot buildings, I helped tear down doors. I went up a 50 foot ladder. It has been an incredible day and I would never ever take for granted the type of work these people do in our community,” explains Rep. Bizzarro.

The Committee’s visit comes after a recently released report from the Senate Resolution 6 Commission. This 39 member group was charged with developing ways to preserve and grow fire and EMS systems across the state. The Report offered 27 recommendations to strengthen support for first responders, which includes various Legislation. There were also recommendations focused on recruiting, retention, and delivery of services. Representative Bizzarro says firefighters have been, and remain a top priority.

“I’ve done everything I can to bring resources back to them and I’m going to continue to fight for them moving forward,” Rep. Bizzarro says.

The Senate Resolution 6 Commission’s full 95 page report and recommendations can be viewed by clicking here: