Lehigh County, PA– Northern Valley Emergency Medical Services, Inc., (North Whitehall Township) and Lynnport Community Fire Company #1 (Lynn Township) will each receive a $95,000 grant from the state of Pennsylvania, according to Senate Appropriations Chairman Pat Browne (R-Lehigh).
Northern Valley EMS (NOVA) and Lynnport have experienced similar challenges as many fire and ambulance companies have including shrinking budgets and reduced volunteerism. These impediments have put a strain on their already limited resources, with many companies putting off capital improvements to facilities and vehicles.
Understanding these difficulties, Senator Browne was directly able to secure these grants for local first responder’s through the 2019-2020 budget.
“Our fire and EMS first responders are the foundation of Pennsylvania’s emergency response system,” Senator Browne said. “This largely volunteer force is the bedrock that ensures when an emergency occurs, someone will be there to answer the call when it is needed most. We need to do everything within our power to assist and support our local fire and EMS companies as they undertake their critical mission in serving and protecting our communities.”
NOVA will use awarded funds for desperately needed improvements and repairs to their main building, which was built in 1979. Improvements include: replacement of the air conditioning system, windows and garage doors. Exterior stucco repair and the installation of an awning over the business office entrance are also in the improvement plan.
“The funds for this grant are greatly appreciated and will help with seriously needed building repairs,” Kristie Wilk, NOVA Executive Director, said. “Northern Valley EMS holds fundraisers to finance about 25 percent of operational expenses annually in an effort to ensure emergency medical services are affordable for the communities we serve. This patient focus, along with providing high-quality emergency medical care efficiently, holds our organization to strict budgeting practices and does not allow for large scale building projects. Northern Valley EMS is extremely thankful to Senator Browne for this opportunity.”
Lynnport Community Fire Company will utilize the awarded funds to completely replace the firehouse’s entire roof. The current roof was installed over 40 years ago and is in dire need of repair. The projected replacement will utilize an engineered design of EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer).
“A new roof will ensure that all of our fire company’s equipment is protected from any and all damage,” Timothy VanBlargan Jr., First-Assistant Fire Chief, said. “Currently, the replacement value of all of our emergency trucks, search and rescue equipment and personal fire protection gear is estimated to be well over $4 million dollars. To even consider having to replace that type of loss would be unimaginable. We are extremely appreciative to Senator Browne for considering our fire department as a necessary emergency service that needed assistance.”
Both projects are expected to be completed in 2020.
“I want to thank Northern Valley Emergency Medical Services (NOVA) and Lynnport Fire Company for their long and dedicated service to Northern Lehigh County,” Senator Browne said. “I am pleased to have been able to play a role in supporting their mission.”
NOVA is a not-for-profit 501(C)(3) organization which will respond to more than 3,600 emergency calls this year. NOVA is the primary emergency medical services provider for Heidelberg, North Whitehall and Washington Townships, the Boroughs of Slatington and Walnutport and portions of Lowhill Township. NOVA’s Pennsylvania-licensed ambulances are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and staffed with highly-qualified emergency medical personnel who meet National Standards.
The Lynnport Community Fire Company #1 has been in operation for over 75 years. The company grew from its humble beginnings of one fire truck and 13 crew members in 1944, to presently serving most of Lynn Township and assisting in Heidelberg, Lowhill and Wesisenberg Townships within Lehigh County. They also provide limited assistance to Berks, Schuylkill and Carbon Counties with a 100% professional all-volunteer crew. The fire company is still housed at its original location with a current compliment of five trucks and several all-terrain vehicles.