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Harleysville Area EMS Promotes Line Officers

Two paramedics and two EMTs were promoted to handle an increase in emergency calls over the past couple years

Harleysville Area Emergency Medical Services career line officer and paramedic Lt. Tim McAteer spends more than 48 hours every single week responding to emergencies in Lower Salford Township and parts of Franconia Township.

On top of that, he spends at least 24 hours a month volunteering with the

If there’s a S.W.A.T. event, tack on an additional 12 hours for his role as medic team for the North Penn Tactical Response Team.

With HAEMS, McAteer’s role just became more responsible, as he and three of his peers were promoted Wednesday night.

McAteer, of Hatfield, and Tim Wasson were promoted to lieutenants with the Harleysville Area EMS. Andrew Calhoun and Rob Roy are now captains with the EMS.

“I don’t think it’s a cliché to say there’s still honor in wanting to help people,” said McAteer.

He started as an EMT in 1998 and became a paramedic in 2004. He said he fell into the career through a close friend who was an EMT.

And, yes, McAteer has seen his share of gruesome and grisly accident scenes.

“I think part of it is the training: you have to expect to see a lot of bad stuff happening to good people,” he said. “We do the best we can to help them.”

Harleysville Area EMS Chief and Director of Operations Donald Lynch said the promotions were necessary to meet the demand of an increasing workload.

“Within the last five years, we have had a 53 percent call volume in the last five years,” Lynch said. “Back in 2006, we ran over 900 calls a year. This year, we are on track to break around 2,000 calls.”

In addition to the promotions, Harleysville Area EMS hired two more people full time. It also added a second truck.

The reason for the increased call volume – newer 50-and-older communities developing in Lower Salford and Franconia townships.

“Monday, Thursday and Friday are the peak call volumes,” Lynch said. “We needed more supervisors to oversee staff.”

Harleysville is a combination department, meaning it is a mix of paid and volunteer officers. Lynch said there are about 25 volunteers and 26 career personnel with HAEMS.

Don’t confuse an EMT with a paramedic – they are two different positions. An EMT is the beginning position, which requires six months of training from locations throughout Montgomery County, including the county Public Safety Center.

“Once you are an EMT,” Lynch said, “you move forward and become a paramedic. You can then administer advanced life support and administer medications.”

Lt. McAteer is a paramedic and a critical care medic. Lt. Wasson is an EMT. Calhoun and Roy are a paramedic and EMT, respectively.

Harleysville Area EMS is funded mainly by billing insurance companies for ambulance calls.

“We receive 40 to 60 percent of our return on bills from insurance companies,” Lynch said.

The department also receives donations from Lower Salford and Franconia townships, as well as donations from the community.

Harleysville Area EMS is open to volunteers ready to experience the excitement of saving lives.

You never know where your experience may lead you.

“For the promotions, we did not determine it on certification alone,” Lynch said. “Their leadership skills were a major factor.”

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