Washington Township reviews EMS options

When the Shippenville/Elk Ambulance Service announced it will cease operations at the end of January, it left a number of municipalities without an ambulance service, including Washington Township.

That decision prompted Washington Township supervisors to discuss its options on designating an ambulance service.

“I would suggest the majority of the township be covered by the Knox Ambulance Service,” Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department Chief Shane Smerkar said during the supervisors meeting earlier this month. “They are a little more available than the Clarion Hospital EMS right now.

“The Clarion Hospital ambulances do a lot of interfacility transfers, leaving them without ambulances quite often. Knox Ambulance (rarely does) transfers, and when they do it is for patients with memberships with the service; so it is few and far between.”

Smerkar also mentioned possibly approaching Tionesta Ambulance Service. He believed Washington Township previously had an agreement with the Tionesta service, but he wasn’t sure why it stopped.

Borough Secretary Jacqui Blose said Tionesta Ambulance Service had changed its structure and became an ambulance authority and also became a multi-municipal authority. Blose believes there are six townships in Forest County as well as Tionesta Borough that belong to the authority.

Board President Mark Beichner and Vice President Eric Bauer suggested Smerkar approach both the Knox and Tionesta Ambulance services about serving Washington Township, and then give a full report of his findings at the supervisors December meeting.

Smerkar also informed the supervisors that he had applied for a license through the state Department of Health to start a quick response service (QRS) through the fire department, which would assist on ambulance calls. He said the service would start when the department gets the equipment and it gets inspected by the Department of Health.

According to Smerkar, the only drawback so far is staffing, and that so far only he and his brother have agreed to be part of the service.

Smerkar said one of the volunteer firefighters is taking emergency medical training classes and the hope is there will be three emergency medical technicians on the staff.

The QRS license is good for three years after which time, Smerkar said, it will be evaluated to determine whether it’s feasible to continue. Blose said Smerkar would need to contact the township’s insurance carrier to make sure the service is fully covered.

ATV traffic

Prior to the meeting’s adjournment, Supervisor Kevin McCauley asked about the status of road signs to alert drivers that the township’s roads allow ATV traffic.

Township Roadmaster William Seitz told the board the cost would be $37 per sign and $29 per posts with fasteners. Seitz said the township would need 113 signs for its roads, but would be able to use some existing poles to place the signs on. The total estimated cost for the signs is $7,458.

The township still needs its legal counsel to draft an ordinance to place the signs on roads. Moreover, the ordinance will have to be on display to the public before the supervisors can vote to purchase and erect the signs.

Board’s other business

— Approved the 2023 budget with no tax increase.

— Approved the purchase of four new tires from Chris’s Tire in Shippenville for the township’s International truck at a cost of $698 per tire.

— Approved the purchase of 1,000 tons of skid from Allegheny Mineral at a cost of $24.90 per ton plus costs and surcharges.


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