G-A firefighter relief association audit released

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

Auditor General Jack Wagner announced that an audit of Greencastle-Antrim Volunteer Firefighter Relief Association, in Franklin County, determined that it was in compliance with tested laws and regulations. The report covered the audit period Jan. 1, 2007 to Dec. 31, 2008.

“We commend the relief association management in this Franklin County VFRA for complying with all applicable state laws, contracts, bylaws and administrative procedures,” Wagner said. “The proper management of funds ensures that they will continue to support local volunteer firefighters who bravely put themselves at risk to help protect their neighbors’ health and property.”

VFRAs are non-profit organizations established to afford financial protection to volunteer firefighters who suffer misfortune 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 separate legal entities from fire companies.

The Department of the Auditor General is responsible for auditing VFRA funds to make sure they are spent according to state law. The department also conducts workshops to help local firefighters comply with VFRA regulations.

Wagner’s strong support for first responders and commitment to public safety issues dates back to his own experience as an emergency medical technician at Citizens Ambulance Service in Indiana, Pa., working his way though college at Indiana University of Pennsyvania.

“I understand first-hand and have a deep respect for what volunteers do for our communities across the commonwealth,” Wagner said.

The Department of the Auditor General distributed on behalf of the commonwealth more than $63.8 million to 1,957 VFRAs in 2009.