WEATHERLY, CARBON COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Volunteer ambulance services seem to becoming a thing of the past as many are closing their doors. Weatherly Community Ambulance in Carbon County is the latest to join this troubling trend.
The parking lot at Weatherly Community Ambulance continues to sit empty Wednesday afternoon. Emergency calls are being redirected as services here stopped.
“I don’t like to see it closed up. But what are you going to do. I hope something comes in place of it,” said George Stritz of Weatherly.
Stritz lives across the road and noticed less activity since Friday. That’s when leaders of the association closed its doors due to the lack of money and trained EMTs to fulfill calls.
Mahoning Valley and Lehighton ambulances are now covering calls with Mahoning Valley stationing one of its vehicles and EMTs at the borough’s police department twice a week.
“Well the problem is when they’re not here then it goes out to 911 and then it’s kind of who is in the area, who can get here the quickest,” said Joe Cyburt, a Weatherly Councilman.
Borough officials tell Eyewitness News paid ambulance services are taking over for volunteers. Which is increasing their response time.
“It could be anywhere from, you know 10-15 minutes to a half hour, so it’s tough because we have a lot of elderly people in town,” Cyburt told Eyewitness News.
Cyburt says many people in the community have come together to help save the community ambulance from closing. Anywhere from running fundraisers.. to the operation aspect.
“You have to have someone who knows a little about billing and doing different things and several people in town have jumped in and tried to help and I am very thankful for that,” he added.
When asked if he was worried the response time will be longer here in Weatherly Stritz responded, “Oh I know it’s going to be longer that’s the bad part of it.”
Borough officials hope Weatherly Community Ambulance will re-open and this will be a temporary closure.