Pa. governor, fire commissioner, health secretary express gratitude during EMS visit
State officials praised EMS providers for adapting to challenges during the pandemic and urged the public to do their part to protect first responders
By Laura French
MILLERSVILLE, Pa. — Pennsylvania's governor, state fire commissioner and health secretary visited an EMS station Thursday to express their gratitude to first responders and urge the public to do their part to protect front-line personnel.
Gov. Tom Wolf, State Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine met with EMS providers at the Lancaster EMS station in Millersville and spoke with EMS officials about the safety and financial challenges first responders have been forced to adapt to during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release from the governor's office.
"This year has brought many challenges to emergency responders and, as always, you have met these challenges with perseverance, team work, new ideas, flexible attributes and most importantly, with your steadfast dedication to serving those in need during a constantly changing environment," Trego said during the event.
The Wolf Administration and Office of State Fire Commissioner are currently working together on the allocation of $50 million in relief grants for fire and EMS agencies approved by the state General Assembly in May. Applications for the grants are due August 7.
"During the pandemic, our emergency responders have become more important than ever," Wolf said. "They have been out on the front lines of this fight, helping attend to COVID-19 patients in their most dire time of need. They have had to adapt their practices to keep themselves and their patients safe, all while continuing to serve as a lifeline to their communities and support the health care system."
Levine also used the visit as an opportunity to send a message to the public about the importance of wearing masks in order to protect and show appreciation for first responders.
"Our EMS providers are on the front line from the opioid epidemic to the COVID-19 pandemic. When we wear our masks, we not only prevent the spread of COVID and save lives, but we are saying thank you to these heroes. Please make sure you wear a mask any time you are in public."
Lancaster EMS Deputy Chief and Director of Operations Jerry Schramm discussed how the agency has adapted to keep personnel and patients safe, and keep the department running.
"With proper pre-planning, inventorying of personal protective equipment, and a detailed internal response plan, the Lancaster EMS response to COVID-19 ensured a consistent level of response to our community as well as maintained a high level of safety for our workforce," Schramm said.