Meshoppen, Laceyville join forces

Represeentatives of Meshoppen and Laceyville (Good Will) fire companies agreed in principle Tuesday afternoon to join forces for emergency medical coverage. In the front row from left are Joe Thompson, Meshoppen president and asst. chief; Brent Case, Laceyville president; and Eric Shaffer, Laceyville asst. chief. In the back row are Chris Carney, Meshoppen lieutenant; Dustin Casselbury, Meshoppen chief; and Brad Fassett, Laceyville.

BY ROBERT L. BAKER

Crews from the Laceyville and Meshoppen Fire Departments have joined forces to enhance their emergency medical services coverage.

Joe Thompson, preisdent of the Meshoppen Fire Company and assitant fire chief said that with volunteerism on the decline across the nation, and call volume significantly increasing, the members and leadership of both departments felt that they needed to take additional steps to help ensure the survival of their ambulance services.

“The call volume for our area has more than doubled over the past few years. With the increased time and financial burdens of volunteering, and people working two or three jobs, we were worried that our members would become burned out,” Thompson said. “There are people in our coverage areas that could have to wait upwards of 45 minutes to an hour for the closest ambulance if not for the local services.”

The fire departments have worked out a schedule of alternating weeks to cover Auburn Twp, Braintrim Twp, Laceyville Boro, Meshoppen Boro, Meshoppen Twp, Tuscarora Twp and parts of Windham Twp.

In the event of a critical call where seconds count, the closest ambulance will be sent regardless of whose week it is to cover.

Thompson said that the fire departments have also agreed to honor each others ambulance membership fund drives.

Leaders from both departments stress that their respective departments are in no immediate danger of ending their services and the departments will remain separate business entities.

Thompsan said that they are just taking measures to help ensure that patients receive the best possible care and that both departments continue to provide top notch emergency medical services.