Pa. ambulance service transitions to quick response service

The change comes due to another ambulance service taking over the coverage area


John E. Usalis
Republican & Herald, Pottsville, Pa.

GIRARDVILLE, Pa. — The Girardville Ambulance Service will move down to a "quick response service" in the near future as the neighboring ambulance company in Ashland takes over the coverage area.

The subscribers to the GAS were informed of the change by letter this month from ambulance Chief Louanne Olson.

"In a few weeks, you will be getting an envelope from Washington Fire Company Community Ambulance Inc. Please open it," Olson said in the letter. "They will be doing the subscription drive as we are moving down to a QRS. There will also be a letter in that envelope from the Girardville Ambulance explaining in more detail about our situation. The subscription works just like before and their price is lower, as their coverage area is larger than ours."

The Emergency Health Services Federation, which serves counties in southern Pennsylvania, explains that a QRS is "a non-transporting level of EMS (Emergency Medical Services). An EMS agency operating a QRS uses EMS providers to respond to calls for EMS and provide EMS to patients before an ambulance arrives. A QRS is not required to have a vehicle when responding to a call. The minimum staffing for a QRS is one EMS provider."

Olson's letter continues, "Ashland has been nice enough to work with us as the laws of the EMS Council are changing each year."

Olson is also Washington's chief operating officer.

Washington ambulance board President Paul Hardnock spoke about matter.

"This is not a merger. We're basically taking over their territory," Hardnock said. "I guess the EMS Council got upset with them because they weren't making their calls. They'll drop down to the QRS."

Both Olson and Hardnock said the GAS has struggled finding volunteers, a problem many organizations face.

The subscription drive letters will be going out in the near future, possibly in about a week or two, Hardnock said. He credited Olson with being a good chief operating officer in Ashland and for the work she has done in Girardville.

"Girardville will be doing basic life support," he said. "Everybody else will be the same. Shenandoah will be coming down for ALS (advanced life support) or whatever paramedic service gets called.

"A QRS can take vital signs, give oxygen, do everything that we can do except transport. They can treat the patient until we get there."

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(c)2021 the Republican & Herald (Pottsville, Pa.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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