Local fire, EMS companies need your support

To the editor:

In 1999 when running for county commissioner I made a commitment to build Juniata County’s first 911 Communication center. We built that center over the next year or so and the county commissioners to follow have done a great job in updating and expanding the center, its equipment and technology.

But while we as taxpayers have been supporting this Com Center now for the past 15 years, a very vital part of this system continues to shrink in numbers and struggle to provide life saving services to our county. I am talking about our Fire and EMS services, primarily volunteers throughout the county who give so much of their time and energy, and often put their lives on the line for their neighbors.

We have nine volunteer fire companies and six EMS companies, a total of perhaps a couple hundred people, who take care of the other 25,000 of the county’s population. There are very few tax dollars that go into supporting, several million dollars worth of trucks, and equipment necessary to provide this service. And while I don’t know the exact numbers, I am sure Mifflin County is similar in need.

Volunteer and help your community by serving with your local Fire or EMS company. This past year I have been “running with” CJEMS ambulance, and have volunteered as a Para transit driver when available. I also serve with the Thompsontown Volunteer Fire Company.

At 57 years old, if I can do it, I’ll bet you can too.

But if fighting fire, or racing to the scene of an accident is not your cup of tea, every company can always use more help in fundraising activities, so sign up, and help out.

And in closing after you support fundraising activities for your local Fire and EMS, consider supporting more than one. I know there has been some confusion about “who covers where” in the county, and you can figure it out with a phone call to your local company, or the county communication center, but at the end of the day if you have a fire, there will likely be two, three, four or more companies responding.

If you need an ambulance and your local volunteers are already out on a call, you may end up getting the “second due” company from a neighboring municipality. They could all really use your help. Yours may be the next life they save!

Jerry Leach