Zerbe Twp. supervisors disagree on LM football game ambulance coverage
TREVORTON - Trevorton Community Ambulance will provide coverage for high school football games in the Line Mountain School District, but some aren't happy about it.
Zerbe Township Supervisors voted 2-1, the first non-unanimous vote at a supervisors' meeting in a long time, to allow ambulance crews to provide coverage for Line Mountain High School home football games during the 2013-2014 school year.
The vote came after much discussion between the three supervisors about leaving the township unattended for medical calls during that time.
The motion was needed in order for the ambulance and the crews to be covered under the township's workmen's compensation insurance.
Supervisor Gene Geise, who also serves as president of the Ambulance Association, was questioned about leaving the township unattended while at the games.
"If we are at the game and an emergency is called out, AREA Services will be dispatched, and we could be called back to cover the township. It is a stand-by assignment, not a committed stand-by," Geise said.
If there is no ambulance on standby at the game, Americus Ambulance, stationed in Dalmatia, will respond to a 911 dispatch.
"My concern is this," board chairman Michael Schwartz said. "I think our first priority has to be to the township residents. That's our job as supervisors. I understand the fact we need an ambulance at the games, but in an emergency, minutes count."
Geise has told the supervisors that it would take approximately 25 to 30 minutes for the ambulance crew to return to the area from Line Mountain. AREA would take 10 minutes to arrive from Shamokin, and Schwartz said it's time they don't have.
Supervisor Mike Mazer agreed with points on both sides of the argument, but in the end, leaned toward keeping a good relationship with Line Mountain.
"If it weren't for Line Mountain maintaining the school, there would be a big, vacant building in the middle of town," Mazer said. "They dumped a large amount of money into it two years ago and are putting another $1.5 million into it now, at a time they are closing other schools."
Former supervisor Ed Hull took the opportunity to criticize the move, saying the ambulance service is refusing calls now.
"I hear the scanner and they are refusing calls now," Hull said. "The only time that ambulance runs is for blood and guts. A simple leg pain or back hurting, they never come out."
"I can show you on the log in the last few months, we have responded to 85 percent of calls," Geise responded.
"Anything can be written on paper," Hull retorted.
"I will show you the county dispatch logs," Geise fired back.
In the end, it was Mazer made the motion and Geise seconded it, then they both voted yes and Schwartz stood opposed.
There appeared to be no problem later in the meeting when approval was given to the Valley Forge Trail Riders to utilize ambulance personnel and its six-wheeled rescue unit on May 11 and 12 at the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area for the Anthracite Hare Scramble.
Geise said the full ambulance vehicle would remain in the township.