Penn State Health’s Life Lion Emergency Medical Service is now covering more areas of Lebanon County.

Last November, Life Lion EMS, working out of the Ono Fire Hall, began covering Jonestown Borough and Swatara, East Hanover, Union, North Annville, Bethel, and Cold Spring Townships.

In January, Life Lion added EMS coverage in Annville Township, working out of the Union Hose Company’s firehouse.

Life Lion is now the “primary” EMS service in those municipalities, replacing the First Aid and Safety Patrol, which had covered those areas from the Union Hose Company and a location on Route 72 north.

Lebanon County municipalities contract with a designated primary EMS provider. When the primary EMS service is not available, dispatchers will then send backup EMS services to a call.

Life Lion Program Manager Scott Buchle said they were approached by the municipalities and asked to submit bids to pick up coverage in those areas.

“When the municipalities approached us,” Buchle explained, “we looked at where strategically to put a truck in [northern Lebanon County] and the Jonestown – Ono area was kind of the geographic center.”

Life Lion is not new to Lebanon County. “We’ve actually been in Palmyra Boro and North Londonderry Township for well over 30 years,” Buchle said. “And we’ve also worked with Lawn EMS down in South Londonderry Township for about the same time.”

“We are primary in Palmyra and North Londonderry,” Buchle continued, “and we also provide advanced life support services to South Londonderry Township and we’ll get dispatched for mutual aid all across the county.”

The new Life Lion locations, as well as the Palmyra and North Londonderry stations, are manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Life Lion provides both advanced life support (ALS) and basic life support (BLS) to all the municipalities it serves at all of its locations.

BLS is provided by Emergrncy Medical Technicians, and deals with basic first aid such as “bleeding control, oxygen therapy, and broken bones,” according to Buchle.

ALS is provided by paramedics, who typically have received more advanced training. Paramedics provide advanced airway procedures, IV therapy, advanced medications, and in-depth cardiac care.

Buchle said business has been good in the newly-served areas. “For the month of January, both of the new units, one in Annville and one in Northern Lebanon, combined, did roughly about 300 calls.”

“The type of calls we mostly see are medical related – chest pain, asthmatics, cardiac arrests. The rest are trauma related – car crashes, industrial accidents, but the predominant number of calls is medical related.”

Life Lion is primarily funded by billing insurance companies for services, plus some small subsidies from municipalities.

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Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...


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