Friday, March 23, 2018

Bullet-Proof Vests for EMS in Lower Pottsgrove

Photos by Evan Brandt

Lower Pottsgrove Police Chief Mike Foltz, second from right, explains why bullet proof vests are now being issued to emergency medical technicians like Erik Loshnowsky, right, from Goodwill Ambulance. Township Manager Ed Wagner, left, and Township Commissioner and Emergency Management Coordinator Ray Lopez, second from left, hold a $3,000 check from the township which will go toward purchasing vests for Goodwill. Newly appointed Township Commissioner Mike McGroarty is at center.
It's been almost 19 years since the horrific shooting at Columbine High School that left 15 people dead.
Goodwill Ambulance EMT Erik Loshnowsky shows

off one of the new bullet-proof vests now being used by EMTs

Some of those victims died as police and SWAT teams ran past them, still alive but "bleeding out," Lower Pottsgrove Police Chief Mike Foltz said Thursday.

The police could not stop to help because the scene was not secure and active shooters were still on the loose, and they could not protect emergency medical personnel who might have saved some of those victims.

"It's no longer practical to let victims bleed until scene is secure, so whether they are trying to help, or coming with us, medics need some protection," said Foltz.
"We want you to know we appreciate what you do, and that we want to help keep you safe," said Lower Pottsgrove Township Commissioner Ray Lopez, who is also a member of Ringing Hill Fire Company and the township's Emergency Management Coordinator.

"The way the world is now, they're in the 'hot zone,'" Commissioners Chairman Bruce Foltz said of emergency medical technicians like Erik Loshnowsky, who was on hand Thursday night, complete with bullet-proof vests.

Last year, while putting their budget together, the township commissioners decided that EMTS need as much protection in shooting situations as police.

"Up until now, we had bee giving them our used vests which, after a few years of use, don't smell so good," said Chief Foltz.

So with the ever-present giant check, the commissioners began what they hope will become a trend among surrounding municipalities served by Goodwill Ambulance and others, providing money to help buy them new bullet-proof vests.

The other item of significance at the commissioners' meeting Thursday was to authorize the execution of documents to finalize the purchase of 2270 and 2272 E. High St. in Sanatoga.

The price for each property is $100,000 and collectively make up .57 acres.  The property at 2270 is a duplex and the property at 2272 is a single family home.

When combined with three other adjacent parcels --  2238 E. High St., 2258 E. High St. and 2255 Brown St. -- on which the township is also taking action, the township will have a site of more than two acres at the corner of East High Street and South Pleasantview Road.

And although Chairman Foltz went to some length to say "no decisions have been made yet" and that the "infrastructure committee" has only gone so far as to make "wish lists," he, Chief Foltz and Lopez also went to great lengths to outline why the current township building on Buchert Road is too small for current needs.

Chairman Foltz bristled at "the heat" he said the commissioners have been taking from those who say the efforts are "wasting money," saying "those people don't know what they're talking about."

He said township employees would be happy to give anyone who does not believe that the current facility -- both the police headquarters in the basement and administrative offices above, are too small.

Here are the Tweets from the meeting:

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