Hawley Ambulance & Rescue Company will be reconsidered as the first responder for medical calls in its hometown if they share requested information, assured Ann Monaghan, Hawley Council President at the April 11 Council session.
HAWLEY - Hawley Ambulance & Rescue Company will be reconsidered as the first responder for medical calls in its hometown if they share requested information, assured Ann Monaghan, Hawley Council President at the April 11 Council session.
She stressed this during an appeal by Susan Baldwin, president of the ambulance company, to restore their status lost at the January 2nd re-organization meeting of Council. At that time, Council voted unanimously to designate Commonwealth Ambulance as the first responding EMS unit, until such time Hawley Ambulance follows though.
Last fall, Council began requesting the all-volunteer Hawley Ambulance company to submit a detailed proposal of their intent and ability to respond to emergency calls.
Council stated they were acting on complaints that response time was slow or that coverage provided by Hawley Ambulance had become inconsistent.
Hawley Ambulance Chief Bryan Utegg submitted only partial information by the January 2nd meeting. Commonwealth Ambulance, which is a paid company based in Scranton, provided the requested information.
By this change in designation, Hawley Ambulance can still be dispatched by the county to respond to calls in the borough, if Commonwealth Ambulance is not available. While not having a permanent location in the borough like Hawley, Commonwealth has been parking a manned unit at various locations in town, waiting for calls.
Baldwin, a resident of Barker Street Apartments, was joined by residents of either Barker Street or the Hawley Village apartment building next to them, who stated their preference for Hawley Ambulance.
“The people who work on Hawley Ambulance know all the tenants in both buildings,” Baldwin said.
“Pounding on door”
Concerns were expressed over Commonwealth Ambulance. One of them that Baldwin shared was that the Commonwealth crew lacks a key fob to get into the Barker Street building. A crew member kept knocking till someone inside happened to hear it and let them in.
“If I have a heart attack, do I have to with for somebody to let them in?,” she asked. Monaghan questioned what happens if Tafton Ambulance responds.
Hawley Ambulance has a key fob.
Baldwin said she asked a crew member why they don’t have a key fob, and was told that they respond to many places, have too many ambulances, and too many keys.
Hawley Deputy Fire Chief Eugene E. Krause said that they have responded at times with their key fob, to let Commonwealth in. The police have also responded.
Virginia Romaine, of Barker Street Apartments, said that Commonwealth has “pounded and pounded” on the interior entrance door in the middle of the night, trying to wake someone up to open the door. “I can’t tell you how many times it happens… it’s all the time,” she said.
Councilman Mike Dougherty suggested that Barker Street install a lock box, which can be opened with a to get with a key to get inside. Monaghan said that County- which owns Barker Street Apartments- install a lock that can be opened with a code, and another code to retrieve the skeleton key to get inside any of the 70+ apartments.
After discussion, the Barker Street residents were recommended to contact the Wayne County Housing Authority to supply the lock change. Councilwoman Elaine Herzog, who chairs the Health & Welfare Committee, offered to contact the Authority.
Mayor Kevin Hawk suggested that Baldwin contact Steven Price, County Emergency Management Coordinator.
Given copy of request
At Baldwin’s request, Hawley Borough Solicitor Robert Bernathy provided a copy of the letter sent to Utegg, requesting a proposal of services Hawley Ambulance intends to provide. Baldwin said she would discuss with Utegg (who was not present).
Herzog read the emailed reply that came from Hawley Ambulance just before the January 2nd meeting, asking patience and promising to supply the requested proposal. The email stated that Hawley Ambulance was “under new management” and had a new captain.
“We told Hawley Ambulance at that point, when they have reorganized and supplied the information we have asked, we would re-consider re-instating Hawley Ambulance as our primary responder,” Monaghan said.
Monaghan said it wasn’t true that Council told the County Communications Center not to tone out Hawley Ambulance (when a 9-1-1 call is received). Rather, they told the County that Hawley was not the primary responder.
Baldwin said she called 9-1-1 and asked specifically for Hawley, but Commonwealth came. Monaghan said that the County tones out three times and if there is no response they go to the “next available.” Hawley might have been unable to respond that night.
Baldwin added that Commonwealth pays “double” what Hawley Ambulance charges for a BLS (Basic Life Support) call.
“You have the information was asked from Hawley Ambulance,” Baldwin said. “When we get the information we will be more than happy to sit down with the Ambulance and discuss where they stand within the borough… we are not shutting the door on Hawley, we’re just asking them to comply with what we asked for.”
Hawley Council meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. at Borough Hall, 94 Main Avenue. The office may be reached at 570-226-9545.