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Blawnox to help pay for Foxwall EMS home

| Sunday, Aug. 13, 2006

Blawnox officials have agreed to pitch in and help Foxwall EMS cover the cost of its new home.

Council unanimously approved giving Foxwall a one-time payment of $15,000 to help cover the estimated $530,000 cost of building a new facility on the former Trassoti property, next to McCahill Field along Squaw Run Road.

The money will be budgeted for next year, and Foxwall should receive it by the end of March 2007.

Rene Sauereisen, Foxwall board president, told council the new facility will enable Foxwall to retain and attract new volunteers. It will also provide space for the company to increase training programs such as CPR and EAD classes.

It will also enable the service to provide blood pressure screenings, flu shots and first-aid training for residents.

About 24 percent of the calls Foxwall, which services Aspinwall, Blawnox and Fox Chapel, responds to come from Blawnox.

Tom Smith, mayor, remembers when the borough provided its own ambulance service.

"We were running a Cadillac ambulance service and we thought it was the cat's meow," he said.

Back then, he explained, residents ran the service, which was really just transportation to the hospital.

Very little care was given to the patients, Smith said.

Eventually, as more and more training was needed to provide ambulance service, the town ran out of qualified residents.

A new, box-type of ambulance was also needed.

To fulfill the need, the borough would have to purchase a new ambulance and that would cost a lot of money, said Smith. And people would still have to be trained to man it.

So the borough contacted Foxwall and, "They agreed to try us out," Smith said.

Foxwall began responding to calls, with no charge to the borough, and there have been no complaints, Smith said.

"These people really get it done."

Sam McNaughton, council president, said he has had nothing but good experiences with Foxwall.

"Anytime we needed them, they were there," he said.

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