Pa. fire department begins using state-certified ‘Quick Response Service’ rig for EMS
The Springdale Volunteer Fire Department is able to send EMS-certified personnel to medical emergencies
By Kellen Stepler
SPRINGDALE, Pa. — Springdale residents shouldn’t be alarmed when the fire department shows up to a 911 medical call.
That’s because this month, the Springdale Volunteer Fire Department became certified as a Quick Response Service from the state Health Department, which means a fire apparatus will respond along with an ambulance service to medical emergencies in the borough.
“We decided to start our QRS to better serve our community,” said Dan Copeland, QRS coordinator. “We decided to fill the gap when ambulances are out of service.”
Copeland and Lt. Zachary Wilhelm said ambulance services nationwide are struggling with personnel and funding. Despite that, calls for medical assistance continue to increase, proving a need for service.
With QRS, Copeland said, personnel arrives on the scene and starts initial treatment, providing patient care while an ambulance is en route.
Springdale’s department became licensed July 12, and the QRS went into effect July 18.
Shortly after becoming certified, the apparatus was dispatched to a medical call, Wilhelm said.
“We saw results almost immediately,” he said.
To become certified, a fire department gathers its equipment and completes an application. Then, the regional EMS council inspects a department’s headquarters to determine whether it meets the criteria for licensure, which includes inspecting the vehicle and all supplies and equipment required.
Lower Valley Ambulance Service Chief Jamey Lavelle spoke highly of QRS, saying it will provide the quickest treatment to a patient.
“It’s a good partnership because we’re all about doing what’s best for the community,” he said.
QRS is another way first responders work in unison to best serve patients, Lavelle said.
Six members of the Springdale fire department are medically certified to run QRS, with two finishing the program, Copeland said.
“In general, we’re providing a better service to our community, and that’s what this is about,” Copeland said.
Wilhelm agreed: “At the end of the day, this is what it’s all about — it’s about the community.”