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White Oak EMS accomplishes goal of getting national accreditation

| Tuesday, March 22, 2011

White Oak EMS has received national accreditation.

Ambulance company Chief Paul Falavolito announced the good news to White Oak borough officials Monday night.

“Every ambulance service in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has to get something called licensure in order to operate,” he said. “I kind of consider that to be like the first game of any regular season of a professional sports team. It's something that everyone has to do. So that you're all aware and can understand the magnitude of what national accreditation means, it's kind of like the World Series, the Super Bowl and the Stanley Cup all rolled into one thing.”

Falavolito said White Oak EMS has been hard at work throughout the past three years to deliver the first national accreditation to an ambulance service in the borough.

“I'm here to tell you mission accomplished,” he said.

Falavolito said White Oak EMS found out last week it was the third ambulance service in Allegheny County, seventh in the state and 109th in the U.S. and Canada to be nationally accredited.

“I thank you all for your support in standing by us and helping us achieve this goal,” he said. “I'm very humbled and honored to deliver your first ever national accreditation to the borough of White Oak.”

“Thanks for all your hard work,” council president Dave Pasternak said.

“I appreciate all your work put into the EMS,” Mayor Ina Jean Marton said. “You guys are great. Congratulations.”

Falavolito said the EMS company received the three-year accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services in Chicago.

White Oak EMS director of operations Jack Petro Jr. said the commission chooses one of three options for applicants — not giving accreditation, giving one-year accreditation or giving three-year accreditation. He said not many ambulance services receive a three-year accreditation and White Oak EMS got it the first time it applied.

“I am extremely proud of everyone at White Oak EMS,” Petro said. “It has certainly made us a stronger organization. Paul brought the suggestion to the board and we brought it to council. Paul led the charge. It was a very daunting task. The volunteers and employees at White Oak EMS worked extremely hard.”

Falavolito said the accreditation process included a complete internal and external review of the ambulance service and its business practices, interviews with the county 911 center and UPMC McKeesport Emergency Services Department Chairwoman Dr. Rani Kumar.

He said the commission flew in for two days in November for inspection and review of White Oak EMS.

In other matters, resident Charles Lawrence suggested White Oak do something with the White Oak Elementary School building when McKeesport Area School District eventually closes it. Students ultimately will be moved to Francis McClure Intermediate School's site when additions are completed.

“I would hope that the borough would have some influence and try to keep that building,” Lawrence said.

“We would like to see that property turned over to White Oak borough,” Pasternak said.

“We have sent several letters to the school board and spoken with the president of the school board on numerous occasions,” said Petro, who also is White Oak borough manager. “They will definitely be considering that.”

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