UPDATE: Newberry Township EMS services to be discontinued soon; board searching for interim replacement


NEWBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — An EMS department in York County will end their services soon and that’s got people in Newberry Township worried. This is a service that has been taking place in Newberry Township for about 70 years and now a handful of EMS workers are looking elsewhere for a job.

“Pretty disappointed kinda betrayed we’re more concerned about the residents,” Adam Dawes said.

Dawes has worked for the Newberry EMS for the past two years. Now he’s looking for another position.

“Like anywhere EMS is short-staffed and it’s pretty much you can go anywhere but a lot of the guys here just liked working here particularly so we didn’t want to go,” Dawes said.

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A spokeswoman for the department says change is due to a number of things. This includes too many calls and not enough manpower, funding issues, and the ongoing pandemic.

“They typically work two to three jobs right, so they will not be on unemployment they will be picking up additional hours at some of their other positions, and when the township makes the choice of who the vendor will be maybe they will go apply for a position with that new ems service provider that the township will select,” Jeannette Magaro said.

After September 30 other emergency responders will pick up the calls in the area but people living there worry about response times getting worse.

“When you’re waiting for an ambulance to arrive you’re going okay one’s not even like 5 minutes up the road what’s taking so long?” Jennifer Kupko said.

Her seven-year-old son Gannon has special needs. Mom and dad have to pay close attention to his health. In 2016 Gannon suffered from a severe seizure and the family waited 22 minutes for the EMS to arrive at their home.

“I can’t afford to lose my child for another seizure waiting for an ambulance company that doesn’t have no idea about our township or community or anything,” Kupko said.

Jennifer says these EMS services play a crucial role and every second counts.

“If even one second too late or one minute too late can cost him his life and I’m not willing to let that slide, his life matters just as well as everyone else’s,” Kupko said.

Jennifer also says she would like an open line of communication with the Newberry Township board of supervisors.

In a press release sent out on Wednesday, Sept. 8, Newberry Township Board of Supervisors has been in contact with several local EMS providers and the Emergency Health Service Federation to secure “adequate EMS services for the interim period of Oct. 1, 2021 to July 1, 2022.”

At the end of the interim period, the EMS services provider contract will take effect.

‘Newberry Township Fire and EMS were not excluded from providing proposals for the multi-year contract,” Mario Eckert, chairman for the board of supervisors, said. “Their latest press release dated Sept. 7, 2021, on their website attempts to explain the circumstances for their decision to end services on Sept. 30 and why they felt they could not submit a proposal.”

In the release, Eckert also wanted to make it clear that the board of supervisors “had no intentions and at no time made statements that we would not discontinue the current funding schedule for the EMS services provided by Newberry Township Fire and EMS prior to July 1, 2022.”

The board plans to secure definitive coverage for EMS services and will provide the information to the public on their Facebook page, which can be found here, and on their website, which can be found here.

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