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Pa. ambulance squad readies for big move

July 26, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Nineteen doors and nearly as many hallways are on the main floor of a new 17,000-square-foot building on Pa. 16 in Waynesboro. They all lead to the same place - the ambulances that take emergency medical technicians to 1,600 calls annually in the 74-square-mile first response area.

Eleven career EMTs and 25 volunteers are looking to make the move to the Waynesboro Ambulance Squad's new $2.2 million headquarters Aug. 2.

Before long, the fresh-paint smell will surely be replaced with that of spaghetti and lasagna.

"You'll find those are the 'firehouse favorites' because they're cheap and easy to make," Squad Chief Brent Frain said.

He expects the EMTs will split their time between the lounge and the watch room with its computer, weather station, oversized map and phone bank.

That weather station will especially be a boon, Frain said. The ambulance squad has been receiving its weather alerts from Chambersburg, Pa., and sometimes receives storm notices for ones that have already passed, he said.

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He has found the squad is particularly affected by wind speeds that dictate hazmat cleanups and operations in drifting snow.

In winter storms, the heated concrete floors of the ambulance bay will melt slush and snow off the bottom of the squad's three ambulances and one rehabilitation unit.

"We have an antique ambulance that we keep in storage that will be here," Frain said.

A late August open house will include opportunities for the public to purchase bricks on the Wall of Foundation and see the exhaust system technology the squad is hoping to purchase, he said.

"It's definitely going to be nicer for people to come see us," Frain said Tuesday, stepping through the facility's main entrance.

Immediately on the left is a billing office. Next to that are identical offices: one for administration and the other for operations.

EMTs also have access to a fitness room, male and female locker rooms, a conference room for training, laundry facilities and a trip sheet/documentation room adjacent to the ambulance bay.

A ladder stretches from the bay to the roof, where the generator, air conditioning and heating units are maintained for the building that doubles as an emergency shelter.

In addition to the red "EXIT" signs above doors, a second set is installed 18 inches off the floor.

Frain requested those signs after being in a fire himself and not being able to find exits, since smoke is heaviest toward the ceiling.

Neighbors have toured the facility, and most of their concerns about parking and lights have been alleviated, Frain said.

"We're getting a lot of positive feedback from the community. ... We're working day and night to get things moved," he said.

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