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After a crash, who will respond?

As you drive about the Chambersburg area and central Pennsylvania, enjoying the rolling hills and rural countryside, or if you are rushing up I-81 towards Harrisburg to work, you may never give a thought to the prospect what happens if your car crashes.

This time of year, weather creates an endless chain of threats to drivers, from freezing rain, heavy snow and icy roads can turn a short trip into a nightmare. Your car skids on an icy curve, sliding off the embankment and crashes into a tree. In the crumpled wreck, you are trapped. You cannot move and are in shock, reeling from the chaos of tumbling vehicle and the air bag's explosive inflation. What do you do now?

You hope someone sees you vehicle and quickly calls 911. After a car crash, you hope for a quick response from local fire and emergency service personal. But what if they were delayed? When every second counts, delays in emergency medical treatment can have crippling long-term effects and can be a matter of life or death.

The Franklin County Council of Governments has been asked to study the issue of area fire and emergency service companies. The groups have lost volunteers, which has affected both their providing service and funding the equipment and necessary training for the volunteers.

The Franklin Fire Company noted that over the last decade it has lost 22 percent of its volunteer firefighters while at the same time its service requests have increased 12 percent. In addition, equipment costs have doubled.

There are no simple solutions, but like insurance, if you fail to pay for it before your need it, you will not have it when you do. And with fire and EMS service, a delay when you do need it could extract a very high price.

publicopiniononline.com, "Fire and EMT volunteers face crisis in staffing, funding," Jim Hook, January 25, 2015

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