Pottstown’s Goodwill Named Township First Responder

The commissioners’ resolution is in part a response to charges that lesser qualified emergency medical service providers are attempting to “steal calls” for assistance

SANATOGA PA – With a strong recommendation from its acting police chief, and bolstered by personal experiences recounted by some members, the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners on Monday (May 7, 2012) endorsed Goodwill Ambulance Company of Pottstown as the township’s “primary emergency medical service provider for advanced life support and basic life support” services.

Township Name Goodwill Ambulance As First Responder

One of the advanced life support ambulances Goodwill houses at its High Street, Pottstown, facility

The acknowledgment, unanimously approved by board vote, designates Goodwill as the first responder allowed to mobilize to any location within the township at which emergency medical services are required.

It also, commissioners understood, shuts the door on the ability of some privately owned ambulance contractors to respond to emergency calls unless specifically authorized or requested. Goodwill representative Michael Campeggio, who attended Monday’s board meeting and answered commissioners’ questions, accused unnamed and reportedly lesser qualified contractors of “stealing calls” for profit.

Naming Goodwill fulfills the township’s “public safety needs for efficient administration for emergency services response,” the board-approved resolution said.

“What’s wrong with competition?,” Commissioner James Kaiser asked as township Acting Police Chief Michael Foltz introduced Resolution 938. “There’s nothing wrong with competition,” Campeggio replied, “and if any one of the outlying ambulances operating in the 9-1-1 system were to respond” to his family’s needs, he added, “I’d be happy to have them.”

Besides Goodwill, the Trappe Ambulance Company station in Limerick is said to be the 9-1-1 responder closest to Lower Pottsgrove.

But Campeggio explained his concern extends to what he described as state-licensed, Main Line-based ambulance crews who spend their nights “sitting somewhere in the (Pottstown) area” monitoring radios for emergency medical calls and then racing to a scene to offer their services. Township Planning Commissioner William Wolfgang publicly referred to the outsiders as “pirates.”

“I want the closest available emergency responders who are fully qualified” at a scene, Foltz said, when asked if he recommended the board action. “That’s Goodwill.” His comments were echoed by commissioners Stephen Klotz and Bruce Foltz, both of whom said their personal experiences with Goodwill’s response played a role in their approval.

Acting Chief Foltz noted there is township precedent for designating responders. Sanatoga Auto Body on South Sanatoga Road, he said, has for several years been the bonded tow truck operator authorized to provide services when the police department has a towing need.

Board President Jonathan Spadt was absent and did not vote.

Photo from Goodwill Ambulance