Pennington to be without EMS services in March – no answers yet from Council

The February Pennington Borough Council meeting opened with a public comment from Borough resident Kurt Pederson on the status of emergency services with the Pennington First Aid Squad service area. PFAS is set to close its doors on March 1. Pederson, Chief of the Union Fire Company & Rescue Squad in Titusville, stated that many people have asked him what will happen with emergency services in the Borough and he does not have an answer.

Roger Demareski, Chief of Pennington Fire Company, Station 51, stated that he had the same question and asked the Council if he and the other emergency professional could be part of the conversation with the Council on how things will work moving forward.

“A very vibrant volunteer organization like the First Aid Squad was not able to sustain itself,” said Demareski. “We face the same challenges for the Borough and our District 51.”

“We want to remain all-volunteer as we have been – proud since 1891,” said Demareski.

“The Hopewell Township Fire District is leading the effort to secure replacement EMS services for Pennington Borough and the area that Pennington First Aid Squad previously served,” said Mayor Jim Davy. “We have been advised by HTFD they have been in discussions and negotiations with Capital Health to be that replacement service as of April 1.”

“They have provided a cost to Pennington Borough,” said Davy. “The total cost is $200,000 and our allocated share for Pennington Borough is $25,000. We are taking steps to include that $25,000 in this year’s Borough budget.”

Davy stated that the problem is that Capital Health cannot take over until April 1 and the Pennington First Aid Squad will close on March 1. Davy stated that there is a one-month period where there is no coverage as of yet. Davy asked the Pennington First Aid Squad if they could continue until April 1, but they responded that they couldn’t as they just do not have the volunteers.

Pederson said many residents have asked him if an ambulance will ever come. But as the Chief explained where the high volume of calls came from, in places like the area around the senior citizen residences on Denow Road, Davy stopped him.

“My main concern is Pennington Borough residents,” said Davy “Whatever Hopewell Township has to do for Hopewell Township, that is fine. I just want to make sure and be guaranteed that we have coverage when that time comes.”

“Well then back at you,” said Pederson. “In that respect, what are you doing to make sure that as of March 1 there is an ambulance by Pennington Borough to handle those calls?”

Davy said that he does not have that answer yet and reiterated that he is working with Hopewell Township Fire District to get that answer.

“We will not let Pennington fail,” said Pederson.

“Nobody wants the residents to be without service,” said Davy.

In other matters, Davy announced the resignations of Kate Dunham from the Shade Tree Committee and Dan Boone from the Board of Health. A proclamation was read by Davy recognizing Dan Boone’s service to the Borough.

Davy also announced the extension of the streetscape project funded by a federal grant. The Borough has been working with the state to fund phase 2 of the project extending phase 1 down Main Street to the beginning of the driveway to the Pennington Methodist Church. Additionally, on West Delaware Avenue, the project will extend to the Capelli’s Shop, a little further on North Main, and East Delaware just past the driveway to the Pennington Presbyterian Church.

According to Davy, the project entails new lights, new benches, and new trash receptacles. It also will include sidewalk and curb replacements in some places, as well as new trees. The plans will be available at public hall for public inspection. No date has been set for the viewing of those plans as of yet.

The next Pennington Council meeting is scheduled for March 6 at 7pm.

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