DiGirolamo Bill Offers Protection for CERT Members

Proposal passes state House, heads to Senate 

Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) has secured legislative approval of a proposal he has sponsored to allow certain first responders to be covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act.
“Community Emergency Response Team members, commonly known as CERT volunteers, provide a valuable service to our hometowns and need to be protected under our laws,” said DiGirolamo. “Our local governments should be given the option of including CERT members in their workers’ compensation insurance and providing for these volunteers appropriately in the event one of them is ever injured while carrying out their duties.”
CERT training includes disaster preparedness, disaster fire suppression, basic disaster medical operations, and light search and rescue operations. The creation of a CERT program is strictly left to local discretion and is not a federal mandate.
He noted that volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance company members are required to be covered by the state’s workers’ compensation law, and that protection should be extended to CERT members.
Under House Bill 664, CERT members would be added to the list of volunteer services covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act. To be included, members must have completed the CERT training program as outlined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This legislation solely allows government entities to allow CERT volunteers to be added to workers’ compensation policies and does not require them to do so.
DiGirolamo said that if a government entity adds CERT members to its workers’ compensation policy, team members would be covered by the act if they were authorized in writing by a county or municipality to assist first responders or if they are properly dispatched by the municipality to assist first responders in a state or federally declared emergency.
The legislation now moves to the state Senate for consideration.
Rep. Gene DiGirolamo
18th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
(215) 750-1017
(717) 783-7319
Contact: Jennifer Algoe Keaton
(717) 705-2094
Member site: GeneDigirolamo.com
Caucus site: PAHouseGOP.com