WEST HAZLETON -- An ambulance service in Luzerne County is back up and running after a lack of manpower forced it to close in October. Now, volunteers have stepped in to help.
Volunteer firefighters in West Hazleton have stepped up to restore the borough's ambulance service and to make sure it can stay open permanently. It's starting an effort to raise funds for the ambulance service and recruit more volunteers.
Firefighters with the West Hazleton Fire Department are doing double duty. On top of responding to fire calls in the borough, firefighters are putting in overtime trying to save the borough's ambulance service.
"We are taxed down here. We have had a lot of volunteer ambulance organizations close within the last couple years. This is one that we are trying to save because we feel it's a critical component," said West Hazleton Fire Chief Shawn Evans.
In October, the borough took the West Hazleton Community Ambulance Association out of service because it just didn't have enough volunteers.
"I have seen the need for this ambulance service to go back in service. Talking to some of the neighbors around me, they always ask me, 'Where is our ambulance service? We need it back in service,'" said volunteer Kyle Kashak.
Kashak is among some of the volunteer firefighters who stepped up earlier this month, volunteering additional time to restore the ambulance service for the borough.
"Within the first 48 hours of being back in service, we were called about 14 times."
Having firefighters run both services is only a short-term fix.
"Remember, it is your community, your service. Do what you can for your neighbor, yourselves, and your family," said West Hazleton Assistant Chief Robert Segaria.
Segaria is heading the effort to mail out letters for donations and to recruit more volunteers. No experience is necessary and training is paid for.
"The only thing we ask of you is to give your time, take the training, pass the courses, and take the calls."
People can call or stop by the fire department at:
12 South 4th Street,
or call 570-455-3696.