Whitemarsh Am­bu­lance to pro­vide non-emer­gency ser­vices

The Colonial - - OPINION - By Os­car Gam­ble

ogam­ble@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com

Whitemarsh Com­mu­nity Am­bu­lance is ex­pand­ing to pro­vide non-emer­gency ser­vices for area res­i­dents. Non-emer­gency am­bu­lance ser­vices in­clude doorto-door trans­porta­tion to and from med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties such as doc­tors’ of­fices, dial­y­sis cen­ters, re­hab cen­ters and short-term pro­ce­dure fa­cil­i­ties.

In­de­pen­dently owned and op­er­ated since 1956, Whitemarsh Am­bu­lance is a vol­un­teer or­ga­ni­za­tion sup­ple­mented by a ca­reer staff. The ser­vice has a full-time staff of 10 em­ploy­ees and be­tween 30 and 40 vol­un­teers and part-timers.

“It’s a whole new branch of ser­vice and we’re set­ting the bar high,” said trans­port co­or­di­na­tor Kenneth Erik­son, a ca­reer para­medic with 20 years of ex­pe­ri­ence. He sees the ex­panded role as an am­bi­tious move that will raise Whitemarsh’s level of pro­fes­sion­al­ism and pro­vide a much-needed ser­vice to the com­mu­nity.

While there are other com­pa­nies like Ply­mouth Am­bu­lance that pro­vide a sim­i­lar ser­vice, Erik­son said the scope of Whitemarsh Am­bu­lance’s cov­er­age area, which in­cludes all of Lafayette Hill and borders Con­shohocken and Ply­mouth, is like noth­ing in the im­me­di­ate area.

The need to in­crease rev­enue was the ma­jor im­pe­tus be­hind the move, but the am­bu­lance ser­vice in­tends to take ad­van­tage of down­time re­sources to make it hap­pen.

“We stack two trucks on duty and we do just un­der 2,000 calls a year. We find our­selves, like most emer­gency squads, with down­time when we’re not pro­vid­ing a ser­vice to the com­mu­nity,” said Erik­son.

“Our hope is to use that time not only to raise money for the am­bu­lance com­pany to up­grade our equip­ment and pay for new trucks … but at the same time, our guys are go­ing to be pro­vid­ing a ser­vice in their down­time when they’re not re­spond­ing to 911 calls. They’ll be as­sist­ing not only the res­i­dents of Whitemarsh Town­ship but any- where else there’s a need for trans­porta­tion by am­bu­lance to get some­where,” Erik­son said.

“We’re start­ing lo­cal in our town­ship, but if we can branch out to Spring­field, Roxbor­ough, Philadel­phia or any­where the ser­vice is needed, we will try to pro­vide that ser­vice.”

Whitemarsh Am­bu­lance will be dis­tribut­ing a mailer through­out the town­ship in the com­ing weeks, in­form­ing res­i­dents of the ser­vice ex­pan­sion in a “get the word out” cam­paign.

“We want you to con­tact us if you, a fam­ily mem­ber or some­one in the com­mu­nity needs this type of ser­vice,” said Erik­son.

Erik­son en­vi­sions a full com­mu­nity ser­vice, pro­vid­ing safe, re­li­able and con­ve­nient trans­porta­tion to res­i­dents.

“Ev­ery­one thinks am­bu­lances just take people to the hospi­tal and the con­cern is, ‘How am I go­ing to get home?’ Well you know what, we’re go­ing to get you home. And then there’s the con­cern of, ‘I have to get to a doc­tor’s visit and I can’t drive, how am I go­ing to get there?’ Well, we’re go­ing to get you there,” Erik­son said.

“I want to see our ser­vice grow, and I want to see us ben­e­fit the com­mu­nity.”

Whitemarsh Am­bu­lance is ex­pand­ing to pro­vide non-emer­gency ser­vices for area res­i­dents.

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