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Fire Service group reviews EMS response initiatives

With many of the movers and shakers in county emergency medical services around the table, Thursday’s COG Fire Services Committee was a good opportunity to review the EMS solutions that are underway in the county.

First up was the pilot agreement between Pleasant Township and the City of Warren.

Since September, the city has been stationing firefighter/EMTs at Pleasant to enhance Pleasant’s call response during the day when Pleasant doesn’t have the manpower to respond.

“Everything has been working really well,” Fire Chief Rodney Wren said, “really smoothly so far.”

He said a meeting is set for Monday to discuss the future of the pilot program with the township.

“Everything is working real well,” Tim Johnson with the Pleasant VFD added. “Everything is going great on our end.”

He said he’s hoping the arrangement can continue but stressed a “need to resolve financial issues after the first of the year.”

The agreement — for coverage 8 hours a day, 5 days a week — would cost over $100,000 and equate to a three mill tax increase in the township.

Johnson explained that the agreement has resulted in the volunteers “picking up more of the calls on the off hours and weekends. Our response to EMS calls has went up quite a bit (with the) city crew being at our station.”

He said it has “forced the volunteers to step up and be more responsible.”

“That great news,” Committee chair Paul Pascuzzi said, explained he’s heard “horror stories” about the responses by volunteers once paid staff are introduced. “But the opposite is happening here which I think is interesting to note.”

“We get along well,” Johnson said.

In the western part of the county, Todd Steele, director of operations with EmergyCare, said EmergyCare will be covering calls in Youngsville 12 hours a day starting on Nov. 29.

That’s an expansion of a previous agreement that included more limited coverage.

Steele said Youngsville tried to staff an ambulance but had a volunteer test positive for COVID-19.

“Effective about 3 p.m. yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon,” Steele said, “(they) took their ambulance completely out of service for two weeks.”

Steele said possible overnight coverage by their organization in Youngsville is possible and a proposal is in the works.

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