(WBRE/WYOU) — In times of an emergency, we rely on local ambulance services. West Wyoming and its surrounding communities will soon have to look to other ambulance services during those times of need.
West Wyoming Hose Company No. 1 revealed that West Wyoming Community Ambulance will stop operating next month. The company’s deputy chief said it was a tough decision that had to be made. Now the community is concerned about how it will impact them.
“It’s frightening to know that now we aren’t going to have that service close by,” West Wyoming resident Kathy Grogan said.
Grogan lives within minutes of West Wyoming Community Ambulance. It’s an ambulance service that has served the area since 1968. But that will all come to an end August 2.
“It’s a lot of history with all the men and women that are involved with this department. So yes, it was a very tough decision to close the doors,” deputy fire chief Len Hromick said.
West Wyoming Community Ambulance merged with West Wyoming Hose Company No. 1 in 2015. The following year, the ambulance company formed a partnership with Wyoming Borough. It allowed responders to take basic life support calls in the borough.
This partnership helped them stay afloat financially, especially since the organization moved from all volunteer-based to paid EMTs. Hromick says when they learned the borough was ending the partnership, they knew it would be impossible to make ends meet.
“All these towns around here are combining the services. I don’t really think that’s a good thing,” Exeter resident Joe Furner said.
The ambulance company was able to provide 24/7 service with help from Greater Pittston Regional Ambulance. Instead of charging for basic life support calls, the company offered a subscription fund drive to residents so they would not have to pay out of pocket, even though it cost the company tens of thousands of dollars each year in the long run.
“We paid our dues for the year. And now to find out that they are closing,” Grogan said.
Who will continue providing 24/7 ambulance services for residents is uncertain. Hromick hopes whoever takes over will honor the service to those who paid by providing quality care.
“We’re all going to put our heads together. It’s going to be one of the parameters of course is going to be response time. You know we want the same type of service for residents of West Wyoming,” Hromick said.
Hromick says West Wyoming Community Ambulance will be able to break even when the ambulance services end. While the ambulance service is ending, the West Wyoming Fire Department will continue in full operation as normal.