Mayor Tony George has decided to scrap a 4½-year-old ambulance mutual aid agreement with three neighboring towns and instead return to using for-profit Trans-Med Ambulance as the primary backup unit for the entire city, multiple people familiar with the plan said Thursday.
Fire Chief Jay Delaney would only say in an email that George gave him a directive “to change the dispatch procedures when city ambulances are already committed to calls.” He deferred further comment to George, who did not respond to interview requests left with staffers.
The expected change dissolves a geographical mutual aid pact the city launched in October 2011 with ambulance services in bordering municipalities that then-Mayor Tom Leighton hailed as “one of the first and largest regionalization enterprises of this new era.”
Under the agreement, when the city’s two ambulances are busy, an outside ambulance is dispatched based on the location of the emergency call in the city.
Hanover’s Medic 9 is back up for the southern end of the city, Kingston’s Medic 13 handles Center City, and Plains’ Medic 2 serves the northern part of the city.
Trans-Med is primary backup for the Heights, North End, and East End. The private company, which is headquartered in Luzerne, had been the backup for the entire city before the 2011 pact.