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Consultant to help Brentwood Borough officials choose EMS provider

| Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Brentwood officials plan to bring in a consultant to help choose between two emergency service providers.

Borough leaders are looking to hire a consultant as soon as next week to serve as an “EMS expert” to “take the lead and guide council” as they seek proposals from two local providers for the handling of the borough's emergency medical services, borough Manager George Zboyovsky said. The consultant has not been selected and a cost has not been determined, he said.

Requests for proposal were sent out last week, by invitation only, to Brentwood EMS, which has provided emergency medical services for the borough for the last 37 years, along with Medical Rescue Team South Authority, which provides services to Mt. Lebanon, Whitehall, Baldwin Township, Castle Shannon, Dormont and Green Tree, council President Marty Vickless said. The proposals, which will include information about response times, are due back to Brentwood leaders by Aug. 29.

Brentwood leaders broached the idea of exploring options for emergency medical services because Brentwood EMS' 10-year lease for space at the Brentwood Borough building was set to end July 31, Vickless told residents Monday.

Council members on Monday, in a 5-0 vote, agreed to allow Brentwood EMS to stay in its current space in the Brentwood Borough building until the building is not available as long as Brentwood EMS is selected as the borough's future EMS service. Council members Stephanie Fox and Dean Trent were absent.

“Our biggest concern, like always, is providing fast, quality emergency service to Brentwood Borough,” said director Joanne Cook, who added that EMS leaders will focus on filling out the proposal for the borough.

Brentwood Borough and Brentwood EMS agreed in 1993 that the organization would provide exclusive emergency services, documents show. The agreement requires a 90-day written termination notice by either party. The service employs 21 people.

Brentwood leaders are exploring locations for a new municipal building that would house the borough administration and police department and leaders have said there is no space and it would be too costly to house the EMS in the building.

Residents on Monday continued to plead with council members to save their longtime service provider. They voiced concerns that a switch to a neighboring service could increase response times.

“Seconds matter. Minutes matter,” said resident Joanne Smith, a former commissioner with the City of Pittsburgh Youth Commission. “You're risking children. You're risking lives and we're going to hold you accountable.”

At the meeting, some asked if requests for proposal for fire and police services would be next.

Vickless answered, “Possibly.”

That is cause for alarm, Smith said.

“Public safety comes before anything,” she said.

The requests for proposal do not have to be made available for public review until council votes on them, according to the Right to Know law, Zboyovsky said. If there is an interview process, the public will be invited to attend, he said.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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