The old Avon firehouse is getting a new chance to serve the Lebanon community as First Aid & Safety Patrol’s new EMS station.

First Aid & Safety Patrol is a nonprofit emergency medical services agency that employs more than 150 people to serve people in more than 300 square miles. Gregg Smith, executive director of the nonprofit, spoke with LebTown about the station.

First Aid & Safety Patrol’s new EMS station. (Provided by Gregg Smith)

“The Avon firehouse was an operational fire station,” Smith said. “Now, I’m no historian on their fire department. But, they merged with the Hebron Hose Company back in 2018. And to my knowledge, the station was vacated.”

The station was then rented out to different occupants, including a medical prosthetic company.

First Aid & Safety Patrol has five stations that respond to 911 incident calls in Lebanon County. The nonprofit’s headquarters, at 254 S. 11th St., is located on the western side of Lebanon city.

“We identified [several years ago] that we wanted a station on the eastern side to better cover south Lebanon [and] north Lebanon and provide paramedic service to the eastern side of Lebanon County,” Smith said.

A paramedic squad in the new station. (Provided by Gregg Smith)

At that time, members of First Aid & Safety Patrol met with Bob Dowd, the director of the Lebanon County Department of Emergency Services.

Smith said, “They have a pretty sophisticated system where we can look at routes and travel, traffic patterns, speed limits, and get a really good idea of response times to different areas and how we can get the best coverage to those townships based on the station location.

“And we pinpointed back at that time that the Avon area is where we needed that station to be. … For two years, we’ve been looking. We had put an offer in on a building that fell through. And we were just waiting for an opportunity to rent or buy a suitable location in the Avon area because that’s where the station needed to be, right along that 422 corridor. We got word that a portion of the old Avon firehouse was for rent.”

Since December, First Aid & Safety Patrol has been renting the station. The nonprofit plans to rent the station long-term using operational funds. The nonprofit officially moved the units in on March 1.

An ambulance in the new station. (Provided by Gregg Smith)

Prior to moving in, members of First Aid & Safety Patrol renovated the building.

“We had to … kind of subdivide a section of the first floor. We didn’t require the whole first floor. We house an ambulance and a paramedic squad out of that facility,” Smith said. “So, we had to put up some walls, make a few doorways, do some work with the heating, and put a bathroom in.”

The nonprofit also installed new carpeting, painted it, and made other minor changes to make the building comfortable and conducive to serving its community.

A peek inside the new station. (Provided by Gregg Smith)

“I think our biggest hurdle is staffing. We’re always looking for people interested in becoming EMTs and working in our industry,” Smith said. “If I had one request, it’d be for staff. It’s that labor shortage is what we’re trying to overcome.

“And that’s where the placement of stations is crucial because we’ve got limited assets and we have to be very careful about where we put them to get the best utilization from them. And that’s why we dolled up this station.”

Smith continued that First Aid & Safety Patrol strives to leverage advancements in technology to determine the volume of 911 incident calls and where to situate the units to best respond to them.

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Lexi Gonzalez has worked as a reporter with LebTown since 2020. She is a Lancaster native and became acquainted with Lebanon while she earned her bachelor's degree at Lebanon Valley College.


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