Upper Providence asks residents for feedback in emergency services survey

Do you know how many fire calls/year there are in Upper Providence Township?

Do you know if your fire company is all volunteer, all paid or a combination of both?

What non-emergency services do you expect your fire company to provide?

These are among the questions posed to Upper Providence Township residents and businesses in a survey now being conducted on the township’s website. The survey, which focuses entirely on emergency services, “is intended to assist Upper Providence Township to improve current emergency services in the Township,” according to the preamble to the survey questionnaire. “The survey will be used to gauge the awareness of emergency services in the community, and to understand your expectations of performance of emergency services in the Township.”

Joshua Overholt, fire marshal for the Upper Providence Township Department of Fire and Emergency Services, further elaborated on the survey’s objective.

“We want to know from the residents and commercial establishments what they know, and what they don’t know about the emergency services that protect them,” he said. “Once we get the results from the survey, we will evaluate and see what needs to be improved upon.”

Protecting the 22,000 residents in the 19-square-mile township are four fire companies and three ambulance squads. Fire protection services are provided by Black Rock Volunteer Fire Co., which has two stations located within the township; Collegeville Fire Co. No. 1, Royersford Fire Department and Trappe Fire Co. No. 1. Ambulance services are provided by Friendship Ambulance of Royersford, Lower Providence Community Center Ambulance and Trappe Fire Co. No. 1 Ambulance.

“We have two fire stations within the township, but what makes us unique,” said Overholt, “is that each of the three companies outside the township is responsible for a pre-defined geographic coverage zone within Upper Providence Township.”

The fire marshal pointed out that, inasmuch as the residential and business make-up of the township is constantly evolving, the survey is necessary for the township to stay abreast of public awareness of emergency services.

“The survey is a great way to gain a better understanding from the community’s perspective of what they know and don’t know about the township’s emergency services program,” said James Callahan, assistant chief of Black Rock Volunteer Fire Co.