Chief: Swoyersville Ambulance Call Transfer Has Gone Smoothly
Swoyersville’s transfer of ambulance call responses to Kingston-Forty Fort Fire Department is proceeding smoothly, Kingston Fire Chief Frank Guido said.
Since Jan. 1, Kingston-Forty Fort personnel have responded to 118 calls.
“We have had no complaints. The protocol is working well,’’ the chief said.
All calls are answered from the Kingston-Forty Fort headquarters on Wyoming Avenue in Kingston. The department has no personnel or equipment posted at the former Swoyersville Community Ambulance station.
Guido, who was asked for an update on the changeover, said one Swoyersville ambulance staffer accepted the offer extended by Kingston-Forty Fort to all Swoyersville crew members to join the merged department.
Kingston and Forty Fort operate a cross-trained department of full-time and volunteer firefighters and paramedics. The department also provides ambulance service to Pringle and fire fighters respond to structure fires in the small borough.
Swoyersville averages 450 to 500 ambulance calls per year, Guido said there were 51 calls in January, 33 in February and 34 in March (through the 26th) since the Jan. 1 switch.
Swoyersville council cited a lack of dependability when it voted to drop its volunteer ambulance provider. The borough sought bids for an ambulance service contract and Kingston-Forty Fort was selected. Swoyersville subsequently sold its ambulance.
Swoyersville Community Ambulance suffered the fate of other volunteer fire and ambulance services. Locally and statewide, a lack of volunteers and financial stresses are forcing closures and consolidations.
Mayor Chris Concert lauded the ambulance service when council acted. “It’s a sad day. We didn’t want to see it come to this. They are a good group of people. They just don’t have the volunteers,” he said.