Letter to the Editor: Solving ambulance coverage issues can’t be done with cookie-cutter solution

The EMS ambulance coverage issues are as complex as the number of ambulance services the Times Leader’s Opinion Board highlighted (“Fast response to 911 calls not assured,” Oct. 30). Neatly packaged solutions recommended by your Opinion Board will not succeed.

Focusing on Bear Creek/Buck Township (Bear Creek) Ambulance responders, their coverage area is 87 square miles. That’s 12 times the size of Wilkes-Barre. Consolidate ambulances you recommend? Bear Creek Ambulance shares borders with White Haven, Jenkins Township, Tobyhanna Township (Monroe County) and Thornhurst Township (Lackawanna County), to name a few.

Does the Opinion Board expect neighboring ambulance crews to know the roads in Bear Creek – which is 2.5 times larger than Manhattan? Add almost 20 miles of the Turnpike’s Northeast Extension to the Bear Creek ambulance coverage and it complicates access to patient care due to limited roadway access for consolidated ambulance services.

So, what are the solutions to improving ambulance coverage? Shaming the ambulance services? Seriously? More Luzerne County brainstorm strategy sessions? Hardly. Decertifying the community ambulance services because care providers work during the day? Well thought out.

State incentives can help. But it comes down to the individual communities. Either more volunteers step forward or the community will face assessments for paid services that know the Bear Creek coverage area.

Carl Schmitt

Bear Creek EMT

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