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Emergency service providers expand local task force

March 2020 is a time when everything has changed. Two years later, we are investigating how those changes inform us and inspire new directions.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll see how changes in all aspects of school, medical care, politics, police, entertainment, religion, nonprofits, business, and more have transformed the community.

Articles by a team of local reporters will be published regularly over the next few weeks and will be published online at readingeagle.com / tag / coronavirus /.

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A few years ago, first responder agencies did not communicate with each other frequently or even amicably. However, the spread of the COVID-19 virus in 2020 has timely dispersed personal protective equipment, bed availability, and vaccinations.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do this five years ago,” said Anthony Tucci, CEO of the Western Berks Ambulance Association at Burks. “There was a service that was intolerable to each other. Now, if someone has a glove case that they don’t need, it’s like” send it. ” “

Prior to the pandemic, the Ambulance Association serving Burks County was part of a working group to improve cooperation between competing entities for business, but the dialogue was emergency medical services and county emergency services. It was limited to stations.

(Corey McCarty-Reading Eagle)

Recognizing the need within a broader coalition pandemic that includes fire departments, police stations, hospital systems, and school nurses, Tucci led the formation of the Burks County COVID-19 Task Force in early 2021. ..

During the pandemic, the Task Force held daily zoom meetings.

Cole had representatives of the hospital system in and around Burks: Tower Health, Penn State Health, Lehi High Valley Health Network, St. Luke’s University Health Network, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, Wellspan.

In addition to the police chief, we held a weekly virtual meeting between the fire department and the EMS organization.

“This time we need to get everyone together to share information,” says Tucci.

Although the frequency and duration of meetings has been reduced, authorities say they recognize the value of continuing to speak regularly to facilitate communication and collaboration beyond the effects of a pandemic.

The meeting initially provided police officers with a reliable and timely source of information to help police officers protect themselves and their families, and to inform police officers of the department’s needs for personal protective equipment. did.

Today, daily calls are being replaced by weekly calls. It used to take about 15 minutes to talk, which took an hour.

First responders say they understand the benefits of continuing to meet monthly or bimonthly to share information about COVID variants and other infectious diseases.

Jeffrey Smith, chief of the Amity Township Police Department, said the Task Force will provide police with pure information about vaccines and variants.

“It was really nice to be able to go back to my department and share the information. I’m sure they can go home and transfer the information to their families,” he said.

Amity Township Police Chief Jeffrey Smith

Smith, as a teenager and a young adult, has worked as a medic for ambulance services for years and understands better than most of the friction that sometimes exists between police and EMS.

He said police officers and doctors likewise need the peace of mind that they are working together for the same purpose.

“It’s good to build that relationship,” Smith said. “I think we’re all doing the same thing at the end of the day. We’re all here to help people.”

Smith said he would like to continue calling unless there is a reason other than facilitating communication on public health issues.

The ambulance company was hit hard by the pandemic.

Ambulance companies that were already facing labor shortages for various reasons before the pandemic, as many EMT and EMT became ill with COVID and several died, the area is sufficient The personnel had to be pooled so that they could be covered.

Brian Gottshall, director of the Berks County Emergency Services Department, was astounded at procuring PPE for first responder agencies, Tucci said.

Brian Gottshall, Director of Emergency Services, Berks County.

Relationships formed as a result of regional cooperation during a pandemic will provide the basis for future cooperation.

Gottshall said extending the current paramedics cooperation to other types of disasters such as floods may be a “too far bridge”, but people get to know each other and have a frank and honest dialogue. Whenever you do, it’s a step in the right direction.

The pandemic has spurred extended periods of activity to surrounding counties and various organizations that are not considered part of emergency services.

As an example, Gottshall said the county paramedics have dramatically increased their reach to work with Berks County Intermediate Unit supervision, school nurses, and long-term care facilities.

“These are all the people we know and we talked about, but they certainly didn’t interact with the frequency we did during the pandemic,” he said. “We saw those people almost become part of the emergency service.”

Emergency service providers expand local task force

Source link Emergency service providers expand local task force

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