New Cranberry EMS station to help meet growing population's demand

New Cranberry EMS station
New Cranberry EMS station
| Saturday, April 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

As Cranberry's population and workforce expand, the number of service calls to the Cranberry Township Emergency Medical Services agency have spiked.

From 2,800 calls in 2010, according to Jeff Kelly, executive director of the department, the agency expects to answer 3,800 calls in 2013. In 2012, the agency answered just over 3,400 calls.

Cranberry had a population of 28,098 in 2010, according to U.S. Census figures, up nearly 19 percent from 2000's population of 23,625.

Township and EMS officials celebrated a ground breaking Tuesday on a $1.6 million, two-story EMS station that'll be built next to the township's fire station along Route 19, near Community Park.

“The idea behind this new base station is to meet the emergency medical needs of our residents, businesses and visitors for another generation,” township supervisor chairman Bruce Mazzoni said. “And its use comes with a promise — that the EMS will provide our community with first-rate medical transport service.”

“It's just going to be a fantastic facility,” said Scott Smith, vice chairman of the township EMS board. “And its central location will allow us to respond to calls in every part of the township even faster than before.”

According to a service agreement signed earlier this year with the township, the agency must respond to 90 percent of calls within 90 seconds.

The township is financing the project and the agency will pay $3,500 rent monthly. The two-story building will feature space for six vehicles, space for staff to rest, and other amenities, replacing the department's cramped quarters on Thomson Park Drive. Kelly said the agency hopes to be in the new building by the end of the year.

“Operationally, as we continue to get busier, we're growing,” Kelly said. He said that one-third of the calls are non-emergency transports, such as from UPMC Passavant to Pittsburgh hospitals.

The agency, with 15 full-time employees, 20 part-time employees and six volunteers, has an annual budget of $1.7 million, Kelly said.

The department is planning to launch two programs this year as potential money-makers.

The first is a “safe landing” for newborns program, in which the department will offer CPR and first-aid training to families with infants, as well as home safety inspections, car seat installations and other training.

The second is for wellness checks for the elderly, including home visits to make medical evaluations such as taking blood sugar and checking medications.

Kelly said the department is still working on business models for the programs and hasn't set fees.

“We're thinking this will be lucrative for us,” Kelly said.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.

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