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Event aims to bring municipalities, departments together

Municipalities are obligated to provide fire and emergency medical services to their constituents. Except for the City of Warren and a couple other areas, the actual services are largely provided by volunteers.

An event scheduled for later this month — a joint initiative of the Fire Services Association and COG Fire Services Committee — is intended to bring those two groups of people together. It’s set for 6 p.m. on June 30 at the Pleasant VFD social hall. A meal will be provided.

County officials hope for representation from each of the county’s 27 municipalities.

Paul Pascuzzi, chair of the COG Fire Services group, said that the people in the room that night will have to be the ones that solve the county’s EMS crisis, which he views as the top priority for the community.

He said the volunteers and municipalities are not talking to each other and the session on June 30 will “get that back in focus.”

The session will be facilitated by Jerry Ozog, executive director of the Pa. Fire & Emergency Services Institute.

“All fire departments in Pennsylvania must interact with boroughs and townships. Elected and appointed officials hold tremendous power over the (fire department),” a brochure for the evening stats. “Too many times… (the) only communication with local government (is) at budget time or when a crisis occurs. Positive relationships with officials are essential to providing the best possible service to your community.”

The session will identify how unclear expectations can lead to issues in this area.

“Solutions to those problems may be easier than expected,” the brochure states.

Pascuzzi said the session will highlight “what we can do collectively” to solve the EMS crisis.

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