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Halfway firefighter a job juggler

April 05, 1999

Alan MathenyBy KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




In another life Alan Methany must have been a juggler.

As emergency services coordinator for the Volunteer Fire Department of Halfway, he is busy handling the scheduling of professional and volunteer personnel and maintaining equipment.

In his position as a paramedic and firefighter for the company, Methany, 33, responds to all kinds of emergencies.

His duties have recently expanded to include calls of a different kind. As the company's first public information officer, he is responsible for dealing with the questions and concerns of the public and the press.

"I enjoy helping people and the fact that the job is never the same every day," he said.

The Williamsport native has been the EMS coordinator for the company since 1995. He was selected for the public information officer job earlier this year.

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Methany, of Maugansville, said he feels his public relations responsibilities will be will be a challenge.

The position was created due to the company's increasing calls for services.

As one of the busiest fire departments in the county, Halfway responded to about 1,000 fires and 1,000 EMS calls last year, he said.

Having him in place simplifies the dissemination of information to the public and frees up fire department commanders for other duties, he said.

Public education is also a focus of his job, he said.

He explained volunteers who sacrifice their time and lives for the public provide much of the service and shouldn't be taken for granted.

People need to use common sense about fire safety and take basic precautions to prevent fire and other emergencies, he said.

To that end, Methany also teaches fire safety classes when needed, according to Halfway Capt. Edward Ernst.

"He's very helpful to me and a big asset to the fire company," said Ernst.

Of his many duties with Halfway, Methany said he is primarily a paramedic and firefighter. His EMS administration and new public relations responsibilities will remain secondary, he said.

In his spare time, he said much of his energy will be directed toward fund raising. The Halfway fire department covers six square miles and has 6,000 residential properties. Its firefighters and EMS personnel also protect over 500 businesses.

"The residents of Halfway have always been very supportive. We are trying to get more contributions from the businesses," he said.

Increased private donations are needed to pay off a loan used to purchase a $750,000 ladder truck.

"The majority of calls are from businesses and they contribute the least," he said.

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