Natrona Heights, Pa. − February 17, 2022 − Today, Senator Lindsey M. Williams was joined by EMS leaders and the Allegheny-Kiski Health Foundation to announce a $99,000 Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) grant for EMS agencies across Senate District 38. This funding can be used for training and staff development of current or future EMS personnel and will be distributed by the Allegheny-Kiski Health Foundation.
EMS Services included in this grant funding are Citizens Hose EMS, Eureka Fire Rescue EMS, Foxwall EMS, Lower Valley EMS, McCandless Franklin Park EMS, Parkview EMS, Pittsburgh EMS, Richland EMS, Ross/West View EMS, Seneca EMS, Shaler Hampton EMS, and West Deer EMS.
I’m grateful to the EMS agencies across my Senate District who have taken the time to explain the significant difficulties that they’re facing to me, including low Medicare and insurance reimbursement rates and staffing shortages,” said Senator Williams. “These conversations have pushed me to find ways to help these agencies on a state level. As the Minority Chair of the Senate Education Committee, bringing in state dollars to help these agencies subsidize the training and recruitment of EMTs was an obvious solution to me, since it combines education with meeting the needs of our community.”
One example of how this funding is already being used to is the partnership between Citizens Hose EMS, Eureka Fire Rescue EMS, the Allegheny-Kiski Health Foundation and CCAC to offer a free 16-week EMT training course for 20 individuals. This course is open to anyone, regardless of experience level.
“This grant has already spurred new initiatives in the community,” said John Pastorek, Executive Director of the Allegheny-Kiski Health Foundation. “Citizens Hose Ambulance Service and Eureka Fire Rescue EMS are using their grant funding to partner with CCAC to come to the Allegheny Valley to teach a full EMT class. The Alle-Kiski Health Foundation didn’t want anyone to be unable to take the training because they couldn’t afford it, so we’re supplementing this tuition to ensure that it is completely free for 20 community members.”
“Going to medic school is a huge task—a lot of hours of training both in and out of the classroom,” said Josh Swanson, AEMT with Shaler Hampton EMS. “Having to worry about making up for the expenses of it is a very stressful thought. Through this grant, that stress is lessened. We’re now able to focus on our schooling, being able to finish and provide a higher level of care. It’s a huge thing.”
Senator Williams concluded the press conference by reminding the public that EMS agencies do not necessarily receive funding from local municipalities. “I think a lot of people don’t realize that EMS agencies aren’t always funded by local taxes—some municipalities make large contributions, others contribute very little to their operations. That’s why it’s so important for individuals to subscribe to their local EMS services. If you need help finding which ambulance agency provides services to your home, please contact my office or see my website, SenatorLindseyWilliams.com/district for a full list of EMS agencies within Senate District 38.”
The full video of this press conference can be found and downloaded at https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/9l8EQDGSKK.
Speakers at the press conference included: John Pastorek, Executive Director, A-K Health Foundation; Jim Erb, EMS Supervisor, Citizen’s Hose and Commissioner for Harrison Township; Josh Swanson, AEMT, Shaler Hampton EMS; Dalton Crump, AEMT, Shaler Hampton EMS; Ronald Romano, Chief, Chief of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Emergency Medical Service; Brad James, Deputy Chief, Eureka Fire Rescue Company.
Also in attendance were Bob Burkley, Executive Director, McCandless Franklin Park Ambulance Authority; Anthony Cuda, Chief, Foxwall EMS; Jamey Lavelle, EMS Operations Director, Lower Valley Ambulance Authority; and Steve Klein from Ross/West View EMS.