Agreement Brings Enhanced 24-Hour Ambulance Service Into Operation
A newly formed agreement between White Deer Township Volunteer Fire Department and Evangelical Community Hospital will bring 24-hour ambulance service into operation seven days a week for the residents of New Columbia, West Milton, and the townships of White Deer and Kelly.
For community members, the new agreement ensures faster response times for the White Deer service area, skilled EMTs available at all hours, and quicker transfer times to the Emergency Department of choice.
The ambulance service of White Deer Township Volunteer Fire Department has been faithfully serving surrounding communities since the 1950s. As with many volunteer fire and ambulance services in the Central Susquehanna Valley, finding enough volunteers to staff the service on a fulltime basis became a challenge. With a limited number of skilled EMT volunteers on staff, many of whom worked during the day, having consistent coverage was difficult.
New emergency services regulations that went into effect April 10th state that when an ambulance service cannot provide coverage for a certain period of time, the 911 Communication Center must be notified and the ambulance taken out of service for that time frame. These new regulations meant that the ambulance service of White Deer Township would be passed over when not staffed for another responding team that was staffed, and that team may have to travel further to respond.
Under the new agreement, signed in early April, Evangelical’s Pre-Hospital Services will provide Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) to operate and staff the ambulance service of the fire department with basic life support services (BLS) in the coverage area, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days a year. That will be an increase from the current eight hours a day service.
The ambulance company of White Deer Township will continue their dedication and commitment by maintaining an ambulance service using their current volunteer EMTs to respond when multiple emergency responses are happening at one time.
Evangelical’s Pre-Hospital Services started in 1986 with five employees and now has 85 on staff. They staff all Advanced Life Support units in Watsontown, Milton, Mifflinburg, Middleburg and those at Evangelical Community Hospital, which covers all of Union county, upper Northumberland county, and central and western Snyder county. The service responds to over 10,000 calls per year.
Nick Klose, Director of Pre-Hospital Services, said, “This agreement shows the great commitment White Deer Township Volunteer Fire Department has to the residents of its service area. The coming together of our two organizations combines the strengths of both and ultimately means top-notch emergency care for those who need it, when it’s needed.”
Evangelical is a non-profit organization that employs approximately 1,460 people and has more than 170 employed and non-employed physicians on staff. The Hospital is licensed to accommodate 132 overnight patients, 12 acute rehab patients and 18 bassinets. The Hospital serves residents throughout the Central Susquehanna Valley, including those living in Snyder, Union, Northumberland, and Lycoming Counties.