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Ambulance service provider sets up base at office trailer

| Thursday, May 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Jeannette EMS Inc., which is to be Sewickley Township's certified ambulance service provider on June 1, will begin serving the township from an office trailer that will be set up at the municipal building.

The supervisors voted Wednesday to lease an 8-foot-by-24-foot office trailer from D. Edward Leasing Co. of Windber, at a cost of $125 per month, plus a charge of approximately $800 to both set up the trailer and remove it when the township supervisors decide to terminate the lease. The one-time $800 fee also includes the cost of fuel needed to haul the trailer to and from Windber.

Supervisors Alan Fossi and Wanda Layman, favored the move to lease the trailer for a site on township property, while Supervisor Joseph Kerber voted against it. Fossi and Layman had supported the decision in April to decertify the Sewickley Township Community Ambulance Service as the municipality's official ambulance service provider. Fossi said after the meeting he did not know how long Jeannette EMS would use the office trailer at the municipality, which it will use as its base for the ambulances that will service the township.

Jeannette EMS is to begin serving the township on June 1, and Fossi said he hopes to have the office trailer set up by then. He said he wants to make arrangements with the Westmoreland County Department of Public Safety to dispatch Jeannette EMS to emergencies in the township.

The dispute between the township supervisors and the Sewickley Township ambulance service over the right to use the existing ambulance base in Herminie has been turned over to Daniel Hewitt, the township solicitor, and Anthony L. Rosner, the Sewickley ambulance service's attorney, Fossi said. The Sewickley community ambulance service has said it has a 99-year lease for that site in Herminie.

The status of township funds that were allocated to the ambulance service also will be handled by the two attorneys, Fossi said.

Despite the township's move to decertify Sewickley's ambulance service, representatives of the ambulance service told the supervisors they are continuing to provide service and will do so after June 1.

The Sewickley ambulance service has an “operational partnership” with Rostraver/West Newton Emergency Services, which is handling billing for Sewickley's ambulance service, said Gary Moore, a supervisor for the Rostraver/West Newton ambulance service.

Moore said the Sewickley ambulance service is maintaining 24-hour coverage and has a combination of paid crews as well as volunteers. The Sewickley ambulance service has received one-year subscriptions from about 60 percent of the township's population, Moore said.

Moore maintained that residents have the option of requesting the Sewickley community ambulance in case of emergencies, while Fossi said that only the township's certified ambulance service provider would be dispatched by the county's 911 system.

The board did not act on a request from the audience to reconsider its decision. An attempt in April to give the Sewickley Township Community Ambulance Service an additional six months of service failed when only Kerber supported it.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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