Three residents spoke at the Loyalsock Township supervisors meeting Tuesday night about whether they will be safe if a disaster occurs and the Loyalsock Township emergency responders are not available.
The residents wanted to know why dispatchers are sent to emergencies far away, when there are closer ambulances available. Bill Carlucci, lawyer for the Loyalsock Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1, said after the meeting that who gets the call is based on a dispatch system the county has in place.
"In my opinion, Lycoming County is way ahead of any county in Pennsylvania," Carlucci said.
The county is served by 35 to 38 fire companies, he said, and when an emergency call is received, it is not just about the first and second responders who can get it.
"Someone is prepared to back up the first due and the second due," he said. "Things can be planned for if there's an equipment failure or flat tires, if the first dispatch unit can't complete the assignment."
He could not say who the second dispatch would be if the Loyalsock fire company would be unavailable because it always changes based on who is available and closest. Just because a fire department is close does not automatically mean it will get the assignment.
A fire company that is seven miles away on Interstate 180 is not the same as seven miles away on Route 287, he said.
Equipment backup also matters, in case a truck does not start or has mechanical issues.
"It isn't as simple as 'I'm closer than her, send me,' " Carlucci said. "It's much more different. It needs to be professionally analyzed."
Chairman John C. Bower Jr. said the supervisors will look into whether something needs to be changed about the system in place.
One of the residents told Bower the reason for the concern about who will back up the fire department is a result of a person dying in Clinton Township, allegedly because of slow service.
"Those are pretty strong accusations," Supervisor Jeffrey W. Rauff said. "Be careful what you say."
No details were available about the alleged incident.
Supervisor Virginia M. Eaton said she wanted to know the number of fatalities in the township as a result from slow service but was told the information could not be provided.
In other news, Shannon Lukowsky said the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources approved an application for the trail and bridge project for Riverfront Park. The grant is for $174,600.
The project will include a 1/2-mile trail around the perimeter of the multi-purpose field and a pedestrian bridge over Bull Run.
The total project estimate is $218,296. Lukowsky said they plan to start the project in the spring and finish in the summer.