Penn Township Fire Department will officially launch its brand-new 24/7 transporting paramedic ambulance service on Monday, October 1, 2012.
The fire department has actually had a paramedic on duty 24/7 in a Suburban response vehicle since June of this year. With this change alone, we have documented at least three cases of Penn Paramedic intervention which has been instrumental in the saving of three lives.
The addition of a transporting paramedic ambulance marks an entirely new height in service to the citizens of Penn Township. We fully expect that response times to emergencies, and the level of care offered to our citizens will be second-to-none. The service will be headed up by veteran paramedics with a combined on-the-street experience of nearly 70 years.
The paramedic ambulance is a natural progression as the Penn Township area continues to grow, and the demand for professional EMS services has skyrocketed over the past three decades. Penn Fire first began studying this issue about six years ago. The need was determined for such a service then, but funding was not available. Under the leadership of Chief John VanBruaene, funding was secured for the 2012 budget year, and talks continue with surrounding agencies in an effort to form a permanent “fire territory.”
Chief VanBruaene and the entire staff wish to thank the South Bend Fire Department and the many paramedics who have served faithfully at our Station #2 on McKinley Highway for the past 15 years. The vision of the St. Joseph County Commissioners to implement a 911-only paramedic service in the summer of 1996 has doubtless saved many lives.
It does appear the current county-based paramedic transport service has run its course for Penn Township, and it is now time for the Township to be responsible for its own nearly 1,500 emergency incidents each year, more than 80% of which are of an EMS nature. Creating this service also allows the township to capture revenue currently being lost to county coffers through ambulance transport fees, and return that money to the township, to cover the cost of the ambulance service, which in-turn, places two more firefighter/paramedics at emergency scenes every day. It is a simple win-win.
At the same time, we also expect that the paramedic ambulance formerly stationed at the McKinley firehouse will be re-assigned elsewhere in the county, allowing a grand total of all paramedic ambulances and paramedic response cars in the county to number 15 on duty each day. St. Joseph County residents will be better protected than at any time before.