2018 Turning Into Tough Year for Emergency Responders
Pike County Dispatch, Thursday, August 17, 2018
By Wayne Witkowski
DINGMANS FERRY – Delaware Township emergency responders have had a tougher job throughout the year than a year ago, according to reports presented to the township Board of Supervisors during its regular meeting last week.
Chris Kimble, chief of the Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Company, said there were 189 calls from Jan. 1 through Aug.1, 59 more than last year. There were 3,275.8 volunteer firefighter work hours during that time. He said afterward that “about 50 of the calls came during the March storms” and reported that one female firefighter was injured at that time. The calls included five structure fires and 18 automobile accidents.
The fire company will hold an open house 2-5pm on Aug. 18 at 131 Wilson Hill Road. Kimble and his officers will be on hand to answer questions and there will be demonstrations of firefighting and automobile extrication. There will be water games and education activities for children, with hot dogs and beverages served.
AMBULANCE CORPS REPORT
Mary Lou Corbett, captain of the Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps, said her company responded to 534 calls from Jan. 1 through the end of June but its resources are strained.
The ambulance corps has three ambulances, one loaned from the insurance company while it assesses repairs to the corps’ 2010 vehicle that was damaged skidding out on ice earlier this year. The insurance company provided a loaner and had to replace it when the first one had broken air conditioning.
A new model purchased earlier this year will await state inspection before it can be used. Its third vehicle is a 2003 model year.
Kyle Wright, owner of Delaware Valley Emergency Services, in his report said that the average response time for Advanced Life Support (ALS) and Basic Life Support (BLS) has improved by four minutes to 14:05. His service received 482 calls, 276 (57.7 percent) from Delaware Township. The rest came from 20 different municipalities. His service, which involves paid professional operates on a 40-hour a week schedule during times that are considered peak time frames.
Wright said, “69 percent of the calls are for an ALS level (response) from the emergency call center because of our variety of services but most get downgraded to BLS.”
Wright said Pike County “is having a huge BLS crisis” saying that Medicare reimbursements are not processed for months. He later noted that the state passed increases in Medicaid insurance coverage for ALS services from $200 to $300 and for BLS services from $120 to $180.
Township Solicitor Thomas Farley took issue with Wright’s report, saying there were details but no financial figures given of that services period. “How can the township decide funding if there are no financial figures? We want financial figures,” Farley pressed.
“I’m here to give an operational report,” said Wright, who said that the board members would provide that data. He was unable to name the board member who would provide that or to name any board members when asked by Farley.
Wright continued that his service handles drug overdose cases and his personnel are trained to administer naloxone, a nasal spray emergency treatment that comes from the state for free to qualified emergency service providers. Supervisor Jane Neufeld said the board would like a breakdown of the number of calls for opiate crises.
Wright said his service, which had been non-affiliated, is no associated with Lehigh Valley Health Network. He said improvements in cellular service for emergency services are expected over the next six months.
Also at the meeting, the board approved meetings for the township’s newly reorganized Recreation Committee to be held the second Tuesday of each month at 6pm at 100 Mary Lou Way in Dingmans Ferry. Supervisor Chairman John Henderson said a location closer to the township municipal center might be worth considering.
The board agreed to advertise for a public hearing at 7:15pm during the Sept. 12 meeting to amend the wording of the ordinance guidelines for the recreation committee. A key change calls for the committee to “run recreation events,” and its duties do not include running recreation facilities and programs.
The board agreed o take $20,000 in surplus money going into the township’s General Fund to pay off the unfunded pension liability, as recommended by Neufeld. The township has a pension line item in its budget and this would set aside extra funds in case they are needed.
They Township awarded, after review by township engineer Boucher & James Inc., $218,580 to Dutchman Contracting LLC in Reinhold for construction of a township salt shed with some spending limited imposed. It also awarded a $77,740 contract to low bidder Mar-Allen Concrete Products Inc. in Ephrata for the foundation piers project of the Akenac Park Recreation Building.
The board also approved $12,223.66 for centerline striping and should striping for give major township roads by DBI. Supervisors also moved forward with Township Administrator Krista Predmore’s recommendation for a Monroe county Local Share Account (LSA) Grant application from casino gaming funds for $300,000 for Doolan Road repairs. If approved, the township would provide a $300,000 match for a $600,000 total.
Workshop meetings for the 2019 budget were scheduled for Sept. 5 and 19 and another, if needed, for October at a date to be determined.
Supervisors also approved the township Harvest Festival for 11am to 3pm on Sept. 22 and the township’s Halloween Trunk or Treat for 3-5pm on Oct. 27, both at Akenac Park. The Trunk or Treat will be rescheduled for the following day if it rains. The township’s volunteer Fire Police were approved for traffic control at both events.
The board announced that Dingmans Ferry-Delaware Township Historical Society will hold “Mysteries of the Delaware Cemetery – a Grave Situation” 7pm on Thursday, Aug 16 at the township building at 116 Wilson Hill Road.