Emergency 101 – Who’s Responding Pt. 2

Tioga County EMS work together to serve our county

by Benton Best – October 23, 2018

In Part I of this series called “Who’s Responding?” we discussed the problems being faced in Tioga County and throughout Pennsylvania with the decreasing number of volunteer EMS and Fire/Rescue providers. We learned that a lot of efforts are already under way to make recruitment of new volunteers easier and how some municipalities are even providing financial incentives for volunteers to complete basic training to become an emergency responder.

But is our system for emergency response working in Tioga County as efficiently as it could be? Did you know that the model for deploying EMS and fire units has not changed in the county for almost 50 years? Is it time to consider an update?

So far, one of the barriers to updating the system has been to get all of the different departments and public officials at the table at the same time to develop a strategy for working together.

So how can all agencies work together to solve this problem?

The Tioga County Association of Townships and Association of Boroughs are inviting all EMS & Fire Chiefs, as well as all municipal officials to a forum to discuss this issue and identify the needs of responders and how others can pitch in to better help them stay afloat. Responders and public officials should check their mailboxes soon for an official invite!

Under the direction of the Nelson Township Supervisors, the Nelson Township Fire Department recently gathered multiple jurisdictions together to discuss how they can better coordinate the delivery of emergency medical services and emergency management between multiple municipalities in their region.

By bringing multiple municipalities together, the Supervisors of several areas are able to streamline costs and work collaboratively to begin building a regional Emergency Operations Center and evacuation shelter.

Located on high ground in Nelson Township, the Center and Shelter can be used to house dozens of evacuees in the event of a flooding incident or other catastrophe. This is a good example of how regionalization can improve opportunities for public safety.

s this type of collaboration something that can be re-produced in other areas of the County as well? It may mean that the ambulance or fire truck arriving at your door has a different name on it than you’re used to, but don’t you want the closest available unit, appropriate for your emergency?

Right now, there are 13 EMS companies and 21 fire companies servicing Tioga County, Pennsylvania. With over one hundred Chief Officers, there are also more than 150 pieces of emergency apparatus ranging in cost from $50,000 to $300,000 each. Operating completely independent of each other, they compete for members.

By working together in a collaborative manner, we can maximize the number of volunteers emergency responders, reduce the financial and administrative burdens placed on them, and allow them to focus on doing what they do best…helping people.

Idea/Concept: Benton Best
Videography: Andrew Moore, Ethan Chabala
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: Benton Best
Anchor: Benton Best
Correspondent: Benton Best

Produced by Vogt Media
Funded by UPMC Susquehanna, Laurel Health Centers

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