By Karen Blackledge

The Danville News

DANVILLE -- It's imperative the Northumberland County commissioners approve Montour County Emergency Services dispatching police, fire and ambulance calls in Riverside, Rush Township and Mayberry Township, according to Montour County Commissioners Chairman Trevor Finn.

"That is dangerous," he said of the current system. "It's high risk."

Finn said the Northumberland County commissioners realized the gravity of the situation when Montour's commissioners met Tuesday with them.

With the current system, there is a delay in dispatching Danville ambulance calls to Riverside, Rush and Mayberry, Finn said.

"Somebody could die in that minute or two," he said.

The county commissioners met because Montour's board understood that Northumberland County was to approve the change as of Jan. 1.

At the meeting, Northumberland County's commissioners told their Montour counterparts they would vote on the matter at their meeting Jan. 18, Finn said at Tuesday's Montour commissioners meeting.

"The ball's in their court now," Finn said.

Currently, there is a delay in dispatching emergency medical services. Finn said police in Riverside and police and the sheriff's office in Montour currently are on different radio bands.

"Now they can holler for help for their fellow police officers and nobody is going to help them," he said.

Finn, a Danville firefighter, said the fire department has to change channels to another fire channel as it travels across the river bridge to a call with the current system.

With Montour dispatching Riverside and Rush, which are both in Northumberland County, and Mayberry, the only Montour County municipality across the Susquehanna River, there should be a quicker response, Finn said. --

"We can handle everything here," Montour commissioner Jerry Ward said of the dispatching.

Riverside, Rush and Mayberry officials requested to have Montour handle their emergency calls some time ago.

Commissioners vice chairman Jack Gerst said the boards have been working on the changeover the past year.

"Vinnie and Merle said they would have it finalized next Tuesday," he said of Northumberland County Commissioners Clausi and Phillips.

Residents should notice a quicker response by emergency personnel once the change goes into effect, Finn said.

People pay for 911 services through their phone bills.

Rush, Riverside and Mayberry had been part of Montour's emergency services dispatching system until 1995.

E-mail comments to

Trending Video