On Jan. 29, a legacy will end in Montgomery County lifesaving.
Community Ambulance Service of Green Lane is the last remaining ambulance company in the county that operates as BLS, or Basic Life Support.
Soon, with a partnership with Harleysville Area Emergency Medical Services, Community Ambulance Service of Green Lane will be an Advanced Life Support company.
Harleysville Area EMS (Station 344) will partner a paramedic from its corps with an Emergency Medical Technician from Community Ambulance Service of Green Lane (Station 328) — therefore becoming ALS. Green Lane will also receive ALS equipment through Harleysville, according to Harleysville Area EMS Chief Don Lynch.
"Green Lane is a Basic Life Support — 2 EMTs or an EMT and a first responder. It's nowhere near the level of care of ALS," Lynch said. "By putting a medic on the truck and an ALS, we are bringing that squad up to par with the rest of the county."
By having a medic and and ALS equipment on board, Community Ambulance Service of Green Lane, under the direction of Chief of Operations Pat Feenstra, can now immediately start lifesaving treatment during emergency calls.
"They are pushing medications, doing intubations — which is putting a tube down an airway in case a patient is not breathing — and hooking them up with EKG machines to detect arrhythmias quicker," Lynch said. "They can be quicker in the field."
A BLS ambulance must wait for a neighboring paramedic unit to assist them on emergencies, Lynch said.
"By putting equipment on the truck, we are able to expedite the amount of time for a medic to come in. Treatment can take place right away," Lynch said.
BLS ambulance units can treat broken bones, sprained ankles and the like, he said.
"Anybody with chest pains, an active heart attack, an active stroke, trauma — that requires ALS and additional equipment and training for a medic to take care of," Lynch said.
In reality, all ALS ambulances are also BLS ambulances.
"Basic Life Support ambulances, over the years, have switched over to ALS," Lynch said. "Green Lane hasn't, up until now. The biggest reason is because they don't have the highest call volume in the county."
In 2012, Harleysville Area EMS responded to 1,957 calls.
Community Ambulance Service of Green Lane responded to 689 calls in 2012, Lynch said.
It also costs quite a bit of money to pay for paramedics, as their salaries are higher than EMTs and their education in the field is higher than EMTs, he said.
"Cost factor is a very large part of if the squad is able to or not able to go to an ALS level," Lynch said.
. He said one Harleysville Area EMS medic will be assigned to a 12-hour shift with a Green Lane truck during the day, and one assigned to the same shift on a Harleysville Area EMS truck during the day. He said there is one medic per truck per 24-hour period.
Medics, he said, will rotate time spent with Green Lane. A full-time medic, he said, works three 12-hour shifts a week. A medic may do 12 hours at Green Lane, and 24 hours in other community ambulance corps, like Harleysville Area EMS.
"Our medics will be full time, still with Harleysville Area EMS. They will be assigned to a Green Lane truck and our ALS equipment, that belongs to Harleysville, will be placed on the Green Lane truck," Lynch said. "It will be licensed by the Department of Health as an ALS ambulance."
The renewed Community Ambulance Service of Green Lane ALS ambulance will be stationed at the Green Lane location at 209 Walnut Street. It will be a 24/7/365 service with an EMT and paramedic.
Harleysville Area EMS and Community Ambulance Service of Green Lane each have two ambulances
Harleysville covers all of Lower Salford Township, a portion of Franconia Township and parts of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Lynch said.
Community Ambulance Service of Green Lane covers Green Lane Borough, Marlborough Township, and portions of Upper Salford Township, Salford Township, Upper Frederick Township and New Hanover Township.
Red Hill Borough is then covered by Upper Perk Ambulance.
"I think it's unique that both organizations are partnering together to provide this service," Lynch said. "Both organizations are willing to reach their hands out to help the community provide the best service we can. This doesn't happen very often."
A message was left for Feenstra for comment.
On Jan. 29, between 10 a.m. and noon, the new Community Ambulance Service of Green Lane ALS ambulance and equipment will be on display at 209 Walnut St., Green Lane.
Applications currently being accepted for part time Paramedics, please send application and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Ambulance Service of Green Lane can be reached at (215) 234-9160. Harleysville Area EMS can be reached at 215-513-1880. Emergencies call 9-1-1.