Catasauqua Press

Monday, March 19, 2018

Borough council talks safety at senior high-rise

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Meeting is requested to discuss protection for residents, emergency personnel

At its regular meeting Feb. 5, Catasauqua Borough Council continued to discuss safety concerns at the senior high-rise building on Third Street.

Many months ago, Fire Chief Richard Hertzog brought to council’s attention his concern that elderly residents may have a problem exiting upper floors of the high-rise during a fire emergency when elevators are shut down. If they are wheelchair bound, the process is more complicated, and the seniors unable to walk down the flights of stairs in the seven-story building would need to be carried down. Depending on the severity of the fire, this may cause significant problems.

As Hertzog explained and Councilman Brian McKittrick reiterated, seniors coming into the building are assigned units as the units become available. Most seniors in the building are active and do not require continuing support for daily functions. Seniors who incur some debilitating injury are not moved to ground level. In a fire, seniors on the upper floors might not be able to trek to a safe ground location.

Hertzog discussed the safety concerns with this course of action — safety for the senior citizen and for the firefighter.

The borough has requested meetings with building management. McKittrick, along with the solicitor, are anxious to meet with the management staff.

“It is a matter of safety, and we can’t keep ignoring the problem,” McKittrick said.

In other action, council agreed to review and finalize a contract with the Suburban Family North YMCA to operate Catasauqua’s pool. The Y has several pools that it manages and is looking to extend its scope a little further by managing Coplay’s pool as well. YMCA’s Melissa Brown is coordinating the effort. On several occasions, she indicated there are efficiencies in managing a number of pools. The contract is expected to be ready for the March meeting.