by Mike Senf
The Town of Webb Board and the Old Forge Ambulance Corps entered into an agreement on November 19, 2015, committing the town to partial funding of Advanced Life Support (ALS) administered by the Ambulance Corps. The service began on January 1, 2016.
The need for this funding came about because over 70% of ambulance calls require this level of care.
In years past, the Ambulance Corps was able to staff its operations with volunteer EMTs and Paramedics (ALS providers) from the community.
The provision of emergency medical services has gotten more complex. Many drugs and life-saving procedures provided by ALS personnel are now required to meet the due standard of care.
There just were not enough volunteer ALS people to meet the need, often requiring link ups with other agencies.
This could delay life-saving interventions waiting to connect with agencies as far south as Utica.
The first month this service has been in place saw 32 emergency medical calls (five in one 24-hour period), most requiring ALS qualifications.
These calls, in some cases, became necessary due to ours being a vacation community dependent on visitors and seasonal residents we encourage to come here.
Calls include: snowmobile accidents, motor vehicle accidents, serious illnesses, heart attacks, allergic reactions, etc.
The new system ensured the immediate availablility of an ALS provider for all calls that required it.
These people were quartered right here at the Old Forge Fire Station. There was no delay in providing complex services such as ECGs, IV therapies, complex monitoring modalities, administration of drugs, etc.
The funds provided by the TOW Board were provided by a tax levy of eleven cents per thousand of assessed valuation.
For a home assessed at $200,000, that means a nominal tax of $22 per year.
This money will be used solely to help pay the salary of one ALS provider 24/7.
Equipment, additional personnel costs and supplies are still borne by the Ambulance Corps.
The first month’s experience with the number of calls responded to and the severity of those calls make this program seem like a sound investment.