NEWTOWN SQUARE–During Monday night's Newtown Township supervisors meeting, a member from the audience addressed the board with his concerns in regards to choosing the "right" ambulance services provider for the township.
Though a member of the Paoli Fire Co. and Newtown Square Fire Co., Eric Fedor, of Rhoads Avenue, stated that he came before the board strictly as a resident and member of the community in town.
"I'm speaking for the volunteer fire service more than anything," stated Fedor before the board.
Fedor referenced a recent article that was published in Marple Newtown Patch about the township entering into a preliminary tentatve agreement with current ambulance services provider Riddle Hospital, and expressed his concerns about the agreement.
"There's been a continuous erosion of volunteer emergency services," said Fedor. "I think the township is contributing to that in our community–sending township money to other places is like renting a house. We're putting a roof over our head, we're not building any equity in our community. And then, at any time, when you rent something, the owner can sell out from under you leaving you out to weather."
Fedor urged the supervisors to look at all the data and facts of an ambulance services provider before agreeing to one.
"I enourage you to seek out the truth in this matter and for everyone that holds stake in it. The impact to the fire company would be great if the EMS goes to other places," said Fedor. "I know that because I've been involved in it since 1977."
The Newtown Square Fire Co. submitted a proposal for a bid to keep the ambulance services in-house with the fire company. Fire Chief Doug Simpson previously noted that the benefits of having an in-house fire company would not only be costs but also familiarity with the township, back roads and routes as well as consistency of having someone they know on the field responding to emergencies.
However at the last meeting supervisors meeting, Supervisors Chairman Joseph Catania explained that within the new contract with Riddle, Riddle has reduced its costs to the township and would house two ambulance units in the township–one at the municipal building and one at the fire house–in which the fire company would not be able to provide.
According to Catania, the fire company's back-up plan would be to use Radnor or Berwyn's secondary ambulance units which are already heavily used by those townships for emergencies.
The current contract with Riddle is through October this year. However if an agreement was met between the township and Riddle before then, the changes would take place immediately.