PHOENIXVILLE — By unanimous vote of the borough council Tuesday night, Trappe Ambulance will take over emergency medical services from West End Fire Company.
Once everything is finalized, Trappe could take over as early as April 1, according to Councilman David Gautreau, liaison to the fire department.
“We weren’t happy with (West End’s) management and we gave them opportunities to make changes but we were dissatisfied with their service,” Gautreau explained following Tuesday’s council meeting.
Trappe Ambulance will enter into a three-year contract with Phoenixville.
“It means a lot,” said Clint Tichnell, Trappe Ambulance’s chief. “It’s going to mean some expansion. We look forward to working with a municipality and a new area.”
About a dozen Trappe Ambulance workers were in attendance at the meeting when the vote took place. When Gautreau announced that the police and personnel committee, which he sits on and is headed by Councilman Mike Speck, recommended Trappe Ambulance, one of the members audibly exhaled in relief just before the 7-0 vote.
Councilwoman Jen Mayo, who had her first baby last week, did not attend the meeting.
Gautreau said the decision came down to the quality of service Trappe provided.
“They take a tender-love-and-care approach,” Gautreau said.
According to Gautreau, Trappe gets to know patients in the area. For example, he said, patients they know of that require oxygen would be checked on in situations like a power outage or a storm to make sure they were alright.
With this addition of coverage area, Trappe Ambulance will likely take on a larger staff.
“Well be adding some full-time positions,” Tichnell said.
He expected the service to expand by roughly 50 percent.
Tichnell said a unit of the company will move into the borough but which building and where they’ll occupy is, as yet, “to be determined.”
According to a press release from Captain Paul Giannini, an “aggressive” search is commencing for a “suitable location” to house Trappe’s first foray into Chester County.
When it came down to it, Gautreau said Uwchlan and Trappe Ambulance were the finalists interviewed.
A few Uwchlan Ambulance employees were in the audience for Tuesday’s meeting.
“It was hard,” Gautreau said. “If it had gone down to Uwchlan getting it, it was fine. We just chose Trappe.”
In the process, Gautreau said he was impressed with the professionalism in the companies he encountered through the search.
As for West End, Gautreau said they might continue serving other municipalities but would not be serving Phoenixville anymore.
In October, West End introduced a new ambulance coordinator, Ron Sigismonti Jr., a 22-year veteran in the paramedic business, at a borough council meeting. However, it seemed too little too late, with council voting the same night to shop for new emergency medical service providers.
This story was originally published on The Mercury’s website, www.pottsmerc.com.