John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
First Responders Category

Northampton Resolution is a Setback for Newtown Ambulance

At the November 14, 2018, Newtown Board of Supervisors meeting, Evan Resnikoff, Chief of Operations of the Newtown Ambulance Squad (NAS), commented that as of September 1, 2018, NAS is no longer the primary provider of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for the East Holland section of Northampton Township after nearly 50 years of providing that service (view video below). This was the result of a 3-0 vote in August, 2018, by the Northampton supervisors to support Resolution Definition #2018-R-14 authorizing the Tri-Hampton Rescue Squad to be the primary provider of emergency medical and rescue services within the boundaries of Northampton Township.

Chief Resnikoff warned that this change could result in longer response times in the eastern end of Northampton Township, potentially putting lives at risk and opening the township to potential litigation. In addition, Chief Resnikoff noted that Newtown Ambulance stands to lose $16,000 in subscription drive revenue and $93,000 in NET billing revenue, or about 40 dispatched calls per month, of which 71% are billable calls. 

The $16,000 in subscription drive revenue came from about 378 donors. “We had an 18% rate of return last year total in all zip codes we mailed to,” noted Resnikoff. “So, I am hopeful that with lots of advertising we can at least make up the 378 within the 18940 zip code where we had a 21% rate of return for that portion of last year's mailing.”

Evan Resnikoff, Chief of Newtown Ambulance, makes a pitch for a subscription drive at the November 14, 2018, Board of Supervisors meeting.

According to an August 26, 2018, article in the Bucks County Courier Times (see below), “between Jan. 1, 2012, through June 30, 2018, Tri-Hampton responded to about 10,000 calls in the township, and nearly 26,000 calls in Northampton, Lower Southampton, Upper Southampton, Bensalem and Warwick combined…Newtown Ambulance responded to only about a third as many calls in the township, about 3,000, in the same time period.

Meanwhile, “Newtown Ambulance responded to more than 13,200 calls in Newtown Township, Newtown Borough, Northampton, Upper Makefield, Lower Makefield, Wrightstown and Middletown since 2012,” according to data cited in the article.

 


 

 

Posted on 18 Nov 2018, 01:05 - Category: First Responders

The Annual NFA BBQ Picnic Was a Great Success!

I attended the annual Newtown Fire Association (NFA) BBQ picnic last night at Station 55 on Municipal Drive in Newtown Township. There was a lot of great food to be had including steak filets, which you had to BBQ yourself, smoked ribs, which were excellent, corn on the cob, watermelon, cake, and last but not least, my homemade lasagna!

 

Newtown Fire Association firemen Rick and Matt Gerhard are ready to enjoy my lasagna at the annual BBQ!

A post shared by John Mack (@johnmacknewtown) on

It was a great opportunity to meet many NFA and Newtown Emergency Services members in a social setting and learn more about them and how they decided to volunteer to serve our community. They do a lot of work to be ready when needed. To serve a meal to volunteer firefighters has long been on my bucket list. I can now scratch it off my list, but more importantly, I am happy to report that my lasagna got rave reviews!

Volunteer Firefighter Crisis

Following the BBQ, the NFA held its monthly meeting, which I also attended as a representative of the Newtown Board of Supervisors. A big item on the agend concerned recruiting new members. Regarding that, consider these sobering facts (abstracted from a PSATS OpEd):

  • Volunteers at fire companies across Pennsylvania have dropped from 300,000 strong in the 1960s and ’70s to below 50,000 today.
  • At least 75 percent of fire companies are struggling with manpower at a time when the state’s population is aging. The average age of a firefighter is 50-something, and people are busier today than they were decades ago.
  • Communities would have to raise taxes almost $10 billion a year to switch to a paid model for fire service, according to the office of the state fire commissioner. Who can afford that kind of property tax increase in their community?

Posted on 26 Jun 2018, 01:47 - Category: First Responders

Newtown Ambulance Squad Will Comply Fully with Health Disaster Emergency

Will Distribute Narcan as Needed to “At-Risk” Patients

On January 10, 2018, Governor Tom Wolf declared a 90-day health disaster emergency to deal with the opioid crisis (see here). The declaration allows EMS personnel to leave behind naloxone (tradename: Narcan) for “at-risk” patients who refuse to be hospitalized and EMS agencies that elect to do so must also provide the person with specific instructions to follow, as well as the package insert for directions on how to administer naloxone.

According to Evan Resnikoff, Chief of Operations for the Newtown Ambulance Squad (NAS), the type of naloxone NAS carries is in a form that is for healthcare provider use only and funding for naxolone packages suitable for consumer use was not available from the Commonwealth when the declaration first went into effect. Consequently, NAS stated that it would not participate in this program unless funding is available to purchase the proper dosage form of naloxone, which costs about $50 per dose retail.

Therefore, as a Newtown Supervisor, I was prepared to make a motion that the Township set aside a special fund for use by the Newtown Ambulance Squad to (1) purchase dosage forms of Narcan appropriate for use by laypeople when those doses are not available for free from other sources and (2) pay, as needed, for educational programs such as, but not limited to, training residents in the use of Narcan.

This would not have been unprecedented. Recall that at the January 10, 2018, Board of Supervisors meeting, Township Manager Kurt Ferguson stated that he could “administratively approve expenditure in the several thousand dollar range” to cover the cost of Narcan for the Police Department should Bucks County no longer supplied free Narcan to Department (see here).

Fortunately, funding became available and on January 24, 2018, Mr. Resnikoff informed the Newtown Board of Supervisors that his Squad will participate fully in PA's Health Emergency Declaration program and leave behind Narcan for at-risk patients who refuse to be hospitalized (see video below).


Posted on 30 Jan 2018, 14:17 - Category: First Responders

Support the Newtown Ambulance Squad

I recently subscribed to the Newtown Ambulance Squad by making a household donation of $60. 

Resnikoff and Mack
John Mack (R) hands subscription check over to Evan Resnikoff (L), Chief of Operations, Newtown Ambulance Squad.

I hope I never need the services of the Squad, but if I do, it's good to know that my contribution - which is tax deductible - will cover any costs, even the insurance co-pay. Donations like this, which make up about 5% of the Squad's revenue, help cover the costs of the squad. But more is needed as costs keep rising and calls for drug overdoses balloon (read "Newtown Ambulance Squad Seeks Additional Funding").

The subscription drive is mailed annually to all households in the Squad's primary service area, which includes all of Newtown Township, Newtown Boro, Northampton Township in select sections of Holland, and very small parts of Upper Makefield and Lower Makefield Townships. Look in you mailbox and consider subscribing!

Subscription Brochure

In addition to help fund operations and equipment needs, your tax-deductible donation ensures coverage of your insurance deductible or co-pay in the event you should need service.

For more information, visit the Newtown Ambulance Squad website: http://www.newtownambulance.org/

Posted on 18 Nov 2017, 01:46 - Category: First Responders

Some Bucks Towns Opt for Volunteer Stipends

Act 172 of 2016 allows municipalities to offer tax exemptions to emergency volunteers and some Bucks County towns are passing resolutions offering a stipend to fire and ambulance companies (see Courier Times article below). Newtown is not among the towns mentioned in the article. Recently Evan Resnikoff, Chief of Operations of the Newtown Ambulance Squad requested a 0.5 mill tax increase (read "Newtown Ambulance Squad Seeks Additional Funding").

 

Posted on 22 Oct 2017, 01:28 - Category: First Responders

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