Ambulance providers remain hot topic

Discussion over which ambulance company would provide sole service to the Borough of Johnsonburg and north Ridgway Township continued into Tuesday afternoon's Ridgway Township Board of Supervisors meeting.The debate stemmed from yesterday's Johnsonburg Borough Council meeting where it was announced that the Johnsonburg Fire Department would reportedly discontinue providing advanced and basic life support services to the area at midnight on June 30.Sean Papa and Joe Gasbarre of the Ridgway Ambulance attended Tuesday's Ridgway Township Supervisors meeting seeking answers for the potential designation."We are here [Tuesday] because of the rumors circulating around about the closing of the Johnsonburg Ambulance service," Papa said. "I read it in the paper [Tuesday] morning. From what I understand they had an independent consultant come to Johnsonburg and talk to their ambulance to give them their options and from what I understand they are attempting to appoint St. Marys Ambulance to cover north Ridgway Township?"According to Papa, the Ridgway Ambulance and the St. Marys Ambulance run on a 24-hour alternating schedule to provide service to the Johnsonburg area."Right now Johnsonburg is a shared entity between St. Marys and Ridgway Ambulance," Papa said. "It [schedule] alternates every 24 hours because they do not have paramedics. It's been this way since 1995. I called the Johnsonburg Borough because this is the first I have seen this; but it does affect the Ridgway Ambulance. "I don't know where they are going with it as far as designating one ALS [advanced life support] service over another. They are identical services and they've provided the same thing since 1995. I don't know what has changed and why they are pushing for St. Marys. I have no idea. No one is saying."Papa noted the Ridgway Ambulance has provided paramedics since 1989 and was not until 1995 until the St. Marys Ambulance came along."St. Marys got paramedics in 1995 and that's when the shared stuff came into play," Papa said. "There is a system already in place and I don't know what's wrong with the system that is there."Pick up a copy of the Wednesday, May 16, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.Next meetingRidgway Township SupervisorsTuesday, June 194:15 p.m.Municipal Building