PHOTOS: New MRTSA Station in Whitehall
Medics move into a former firehouse on Route 51.
Call it a win-win-win.
When the Whitehall Fire Company's Route 51 station shifted over one property recently, it left a vacancy next door. In steps Medical Rescue Team South Authority (MRTSA) to fill that vacancy, leaving behind a Whitehall Municipal Complex garage that will now become an extended part of the borough's public works space this Thursday.
"The road crew will finally have more space," Councilman Philip Lahr, a former firefighter, said after a Whitehall Council meeting in May, "which they need very badly. Now, they have two garages to store equipment in.
"The (new) firehouse (project) was a win-win thing. If you built the fire hall, it's done for the future now. You'll never have to put that kind of money in again except for trucks, which the borough does.
"Now, the old firehouse—you wouldn't want to tear it down, because it's built like a rock. That thing will never come down, and it's in really great shape. So, MRTSA can have their own garage, where they can actually (fit) two ambulances in the borough. When crews change, they will have the second ambulance to change to, which makes it a lot easier."
Speaking from MRTSA's new Whitehall digs on Tuesday—just days before the authority's inter-borough move became official—John F. Moses, MRTSA's assistant chief, talked about what local medics will do with their new space.
"We could get one ambulance down there (at the garage)," Moses said. "It was a very tight bed. And the (office) room was probably about half the size of this here. It's a substantial upgrade.
"By Sept. 1, we'll staff out here with two trucks. We'll have two ambulances here but one crew, so that, at shift change, if that truck's out, we'll have the (other) ambulance ready for the crews to report here and take out. Right now, everybody reports to (the) Mt. Lebanon (base)."
"Eat'n Park on Route 51 is kind of that (far) end of Whitehall," paramedic Jesse Siefert said on Tuesday, "and Green Tree Hill is the other end of our service area. So everything in between is what we cover."
Moses said that he's looking forward to the increased office space at the new Whitehall base that will make accomplishing administrative tasks easier. He also hopes to allow for a lounge area for medics during those rare down times.
And Moses and Siefert hope to, eventually, paint their new station and decorate it with MRTSA logos to visually improve what has quickly become a "safety center" in the 4000 block of Clairton Boulevard.
But the most important aspect of MRTSA's move is a more efficient medical service to benefit both medics and Whitehall residents.
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