Our opinion:?Necessary help

“Volunteers are a dying breed.”

Brian Bull should know; he’s the chief of the Garland Volunteer Fire Department, which, like most volunteer fire departments, suffers from the difficulty of recruiting members and raising the funds necessary for equipment and specialized training.

A piece of legislation that originated and passed unanimously in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives wouldn’t solve those volunteer fire department problems, but it could ease them.

That’s why we sincerely hope that the Senate follows through with easy passage and Gov. Tom Corbett applies his signature to make it law.

The legislation would provide a tax credit to employers who continue to pay employees who respond as volunteers to emergency situations, whether they are fire calls or calls for emergency medical service. It would also prevent employers from discriminating against volunteer first responders who have been injured in the course of their volunteer service.

We’ve always believed that employers should have adopted those policies as a matter of course, but in times of economic distress, the tax credit could help. And, if the credit helps an employer, an employee might be more likely to volunteer.

Businesses should welcome the legislation, because, along with volunteer fire departments, they are also winners.

Some 85 percent of emergency responders in Pennsylvania are volunteers, the people who drop their tools or jump out of bed or away from a dinner table to assist someone in distress. Every one is a hero in his or her own right, an any employer should consider themselves fortunate to have them.