Plum EMS looking to move to bigger, centralized location
Bob Moran sees the Plum Emergency Medical Service's search for a new location as more than finding a new home.
“We want to make a greater investment in the community,” said Moran, deputy director of the 21-year-old ambulance service, or EMS.
Moran, 65, and director Tom Izydore, 66, are looking for property or a building for a new ambulance base to replace the cramped 2,000 square feet they call home on the borough building site on New Texas Road.
“It's like putting 10 pounds of sugar in a five-pound bag,” said Izydore of Monroeville.
Plum EMS was incorporated as a nonprofit in January 1991 and began operations March 17, 1991.
The service began with six full-time paramedics and three emergency medical technicians. Today, Plum EMS employs 35 full- and part-time employees.
The number of calls for service has increased from about 700 in 1991 to around 2,700 today.
“The borough has grown with more housing plans, and the requests for service have grown,” said Moran of Plum.
On the flip side, the base doesn't meet the needs of the paramedics and emergency medical technicians, who, at times, work 16- to 24-hour shifts.
Some of the deficiencies include: one restroom, too few bays to store all the EMS vehicles, no kitchen area, a small computer area, confined lounge space and no sleeping quarters or training room.
The EMS staff use the council chambers across the parking lot at the borough building to administer CPR training because they don't have enough space.
“When you work a 24-hour shift and you are in a small building, you feel confined especially in the winter when it's cold outside,” said David Bender, 22, a paramedic.
“It would be great to have an exercise room.”
“A kitchen would be a big plus,” said Gene Bisceglia, 63, of Penn Hills who is an emergency medical technician with Plum EMS.
Izydore and Moran had looked at expanding the current base but the future of the site is in question.
The public-works operation, next to the EMS base, is moving to a facility under construction on borough-owned property off Renton Road.
The future of the borough offices is uncertain.
Mayor Richard Hrivnak and other officials envision relocating the borough facilities including the municipal building, police station, senior community center and the Renton Volunteer Fire Department to the Renton property.
Moran said the Renton site would not be a good fit for the EMS base because it would put the service a farther distance from its service area.
Given the tentative plans, EMS officials are looking for property or a building in the area of their current home.
Izydore estimates a 9,000-square-foot building with office area, training room, kitchen, sleeping quarters and garage would cost between $750,000 to $1.4 million.
The annual EMS budget is $1.1 million. The annual subscription drive brings in about $175,000.
Council in 2010 increased the borough's contribution to Plum EMS from $120,000 to $175,000. Other income is from calls for service.
“We are hoping someone has acreage in this general area and would be willing to work with us,” Moran said.
“We need about two acres.”
Moran said the EMS wants to be a viable part of the borough's future.
“We have provided emergency service for (nearly) 22 years,” Moran said. “We want to grow with the community.”
Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or firstname.lastname@example.org.