First responders in Scranton prepare for visit from President Biden

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Presidential visits often result in big turnouts, including from the emergency response community.

Eyewitness News looks at what’s done to ensure the president is kept safe and has quick access to medical treatment if necessary.

Before Joe Biden returned to his native Scranton for his first official visit as president, coordinated plans were mapped out to keep him safe.

“We’re a pretty well-oiled machine when it comes to doing dignitary visits and we work very well with the Secret Service hand-in-hand,” PSP Community Service Officer Trooper Robert Urban said.

Scranton Police Department is part of that protection, too. While the department declined an Eyewitness News request for an on-camera interview, the chief told Eyewitness News on the phone city police assist the Secret Service and state troopers by providing the president an escort through the city until his departure. Police aren’t the only ones working with the Secret Service.

“They typically direct where they need our resources, how to place them and what time they’re going to be in place and how long they’re going to be there,” Pennsylvania Ambulance operations manager Bruce Beauvais said.

Beauvais has helped manage ambulance response to presidential visits in northeastern Pennsylvania dating back to the early 2000s. He says there’ve been some important lessons learned along the way.

A couple of decades ago, he says only one or two ambulances may have sufficed. But now?

“We may have four, five, maybe even up to six ambulances depending on the size and scope of the president’s visit so, yeah, things have changed quite a bit,” Beauvais said.

While Beauvais didn’t make specific numbers public, he did acknowledge extra staffing for the Lackawanna County event while Trans-Med Ambulance services beefed up response in Luzerne County for the president’s arrival and departure.

Beauvais says at the end of the day, there’s one objective in mind.

“An uneventful visit is a successful visit and that’s the goal for everybody involved,” Beauvais said.

Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton was the presumed hospital where President Biden would be taken if he had a medical emergency.

While Geisinger did not confirm that, it did provide the following statement which reads in part: “Geisinger is ready and always prepared to care for our neighbors at any time, including while special events are occurring in our communities.”

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