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Pa. ambulance service returns to full-time operations during administrator’s criminal investigation

Easton Emergency Squad officials announced the hiring of 40 news staff, including an operations manager


The Easton Emergency Squad, seen Thursday, March 21, 2024, is under investigation by the Northampton County District Attorney’s office and Easton police.

Amy Shortell / The Morning Call

By Anthony Salamone
The Morning Call

EASTON, Pa. — The Easton Emergency Squad, which is under investigation over an administrator’s handling of day-to-day operations, has returned to full-time operating status, its board president said Wednesday.

The squad also hopes to resume being the primary emergency provider in Easton. Mayor Sal Panto Jr . recently requested having Bethlehem Township EMS be the city’s primary supplier while the Easton squad worked on returning to full staffing.

Edward Shull Jr ., the squad’s board president, said Wednesday the nonprofit organization has hired 40 new staff members, including Christina Henritzy as operations manager, which was the level of staffing before issues arose. He said its executive consultant, Barry Albertson, assisted the squad with its restaffing, and that the plan has been approved by the Orefield-based Eastern Pennsylvania EMS Council

The investigation, which began in March and is being conducted by Easton police, centered on the performance of one of the squad administrators, Shull said. The administrator’s name and details over any wrongdoing have not been made public.

“We were approached in early February by the Squad about allegations of possible criminal activity,” Lt. Matt Gerould said. “At this time we have an ongoing investigation and cannot comment.”

However, around or by the time the administrator was removed, some squad employees left, leaving the agency short-handed and leading to calls being handled by other providers. Emergency service has not been affected, Shull said. The Easton squad handles about 10,000 callouts per year, according to Shull.

He said the Easton squad, which is independent of the city and also serves Glendon and Williams Township, hopes Panto soon will withdraw his temporary order to the Northampton County 911 Center regarding dispatching ambulance providers. That would redesignate Easton as the primary emergency provider in the city.

Panto could not be reached for comment, but city Administrator Luis Campos said officials hope to resume using Easton within the next two weeks.

“We have a checklist of items we want to run through to make sure they can fully service the City of Easton and our residents,” Campos said.

Shull said the Easton squad also has in place provisions to maintain round-the-clock coverage with neighboring Suburban EMS under a contract that includes provisions to use Suburban personnel, if necessary. A previous Northampton County Ambulance Association mutual aid agreement remains in effect, he said.

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