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Late resident's generosity benefits White Oak EMS

| Monday, April 1, 2013, 3:46 a.m.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
White Oak EMS paramedic Emma Love, EMT Maureen Molinaro and paramedic/director Jack Petro Jr. simulate adult intubation using training equipment funded with a donation by the Kenneth Frew Family Trust.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Linda Johnson, administrator of the Kenneth Frew Family Trust, looks at a White Oak EMS Rehab trailer with EMT/rehab coordinator Todd Bost, right, and paramedic/assistant rehab coordinator Fred Cooley.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
White Oak EMS paramedic/chief Paul Falavolito and paramedic Chaz Roka practice pediatric CPR using training equipment funded with a donation by the Kenneth Frew Family Trust.

White Oak EMS utilized two grants from the Kenneth Frew Family Trust to update equipment and provide rehabilitation at fire scenes.

Kenneth Frew passed away on April 27, 2010, at age 85 from a stroke and he wanted to thank White Oak EMS for the care he received.

“Ken was from North Huntingdon most of his life,” trust administrator Linda Johnson said. “In the last year or so, he moved to White Oak before he passed away. He was married, but his wife had passed away from brain cancer. The majority of his money went to charity.”

She said the foundation was formed to distribute the money to charity.

Johnson said White Oak EMS was one of the first agencies she approached “as a thank you for coming to the house and being so kind to him when he was really sick here in White Oak.”

“They came several times,” she said. “They were always very professional and helpful.”

White Oak EMS director of operations Jack Petro Jr. said the donation is very much appreciated.

Training equipment and the rehabilitation unit were purchased throughout the past six months.

A grant of approximately $9,000 helped fund a rehabilitation shelter.

“One of the responsibilities of ambulance services now in Pennsylvania is to provide rehabilitation to firefighters,” Petro said. “That's because we have a lot of situations with firefighters having heavy equipment in the heat. They're running back and forth. They can have heart attacks or other medical issues. Prior to the responsibility being given to the ambulance services, it was left unchecked.”

He said if a firefighter has a medical issue prior to a new state protocol, he was taken to the hospital.

“Now ambulance services have to provide rehabilitation for the firefighters,” Petro said. “We have to periodically bring them in, monitor their blood pressure, do an EKG (electrocardiogram) if needed, rehydrate them, give them a comfortable setting — either cooler or warmer depending on the (conditions).”

He said the rehabilitation shelter is taken to the fire scene.

White Oak EMS Chief Paul Falavolito said the state Department of Health issued new protocols last summer requiring that ambulance services must be able to offer rehabilitation at fire scenes.

“It means that they have to have crews trained to be able to show up and do vitals for firefighters,” he said.

Petro said EMS crews went through extensive training.

“This is probably the highest level of provision that we are making,” he said. “As long as you're able to provide water and monitor blood pressure, that's the basics.”

Another $7,500 grant enabled White Oak EMS to buy simulation aids.

The EMS is a training site for Community College of Allegheny County.

“We have sessions here,” Petro said. “Paramedics and EMTs actually get continuing education credits.”

He said White Oak EMS paramedics have to go through an annual skill review and the ambulance company used to have to borrow the equipment from other health agencies in the area.

“It was difficult to try to do all that and get everything here on the day of our training,” Petro said.

He said the training equipment has many little mannequins as the EMS agency focuses a lot on child care in the prehospital setting. Petro said the equipment allows staff to practice procedures such as intubation of infants, placing intravenous lines, CPR and delivering babies.

Petro said the simulation aids will be made available to physician's offices and other health organizations to practice skills.

Frew made significant donations to the American Cancer Society, McKeesport Hospital Foundation, Shriners Hospitals for Children and McKeesport High School Alumni & Friends Association scholarships.

The Kenneth and Evelyn Frew Memorial Courtyard at UPMC McKeesport was dedicated in May 2012 to honor the Frews and thank them for their donation.

Stacy Lee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1970, or

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