Funding Sources for Alpha Fire Company
The Alpha Fire Company is proud of its history of volunteer service dating back to 1899. As a volunteer company, the Alphas provide a tremendous resource and cost savings to the citizens of the Centre Region. While volunteer, the equipment, operations, and training to run an effective fire department cost a great deal of money. Here is a brief explanation of how funds are obtained;
CENTRE REGION COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS (COG):
The major source of funds for the equipment and operation of the company comes from the annual budget of the COG. A complete explanation of the COG and its constituent municipalities can be found on the COG Website. Alpha also receives approximately 10% of our operating budget from Penn State, not to mention in-kind donations of equipment.
These funds are budgeted annually and follow the process for submission, review, and approval by the COG General Forum. Nearly all of the operational budget of the Company and funds to purchase apparatus come from the COG. Apparatus purchases are significant, routinely costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and are planned over a 20 year replacement schedule.
FIREMEN’S RELIEF ASSOCIATION OF STATE COLLEGE (FRASC):
The FRASC is primarily responsible for providing insurance protection for firefighters should they be injured or killed in the line of duty. Secondary to this responsibility, the FRASC purchases services, training, and equipment that enhance firefighter safety. The FRASC is a separate legal entity from the Alpha Fire Company.
Some of the items typically purchased by FRASC:
- Turnout gear (upwards of $2,500.00 per firefighter)
- Self contained breathing apparatus (about $6,000.00 each)
- Two way radios (about $2,500.00 each)
- Pagers (about $300.00 each)
- A percentage of the original purchase price of apparatus to represent the firefighter safety functions of the equipment (roughly 15%)
- The FRASC also provides biannual physicals and eye exams for active members of the Company and assists in biannual purchases of exercise equipment.
FRASC funds are collected as a 2% tax on the premiums paid by Pennsylvania residents for fire insurance policies written by companies from outside the state. The FRASC’s responsibilities and purchases are regulated by Pennsylvania State Law, commonly called Act 84. As required by the Act, the operations and finances of the FRASC are audited biannually by the Auditor General of Pennsylvania.
ALPHA FIRE COMPANY:
The Alpha Fire Company is an independent not for profit corporation under Pennsylvania law and IRS regulations. The Company has its own funds and from time to time seeks donations to maintain these funds.
Fire company funds do not usually purchase apparatus, equipment, or training. Since the Company is entirely volunteer, these funds are often used to supply “creature comforts” for the firefighters while they are on duty. Some furniture, audio visual equipment, and computer equipment are provided through company funds. Food and beverages are also supplied for certain company social events and meals after extended training or fire calls.
In addition to the social benefits, the company provides a small number of annual scholarships to members and their dependents. Dependents of active or life members are eligible for post secondary scholarships of several hundred dollars when graduating from high school. Active members themselves are eligible for two scholarships for post secondary education.
The Alpha Fire Company appreciates the support of COG, the SCFRA, and the generous citizens of the Centre Region. Without this support the company would not be able to provide its vital services to the Centre Region.