After just over a week in service, Amsterdam Fire Chief Michael Whitty said yesterday that operations with the city’s brand new ambulance vehicle have been going smoothly.
Although city firefighters have been responding to emergency medical calls for years, operating an ambulance service to transport patients to the hospital is a new venture for the city. After considering estimates from multiple medical billing companies, the Common Council approved the lease of the new vehicle in February. Mayor Michael Villa included an estimated $350,000 in revenue from the service in his proposed 2017-2018 budget.
According to Whitty, the service began at the beginning of August using a temporary used rental vehicle, however engine problems with that vehicle led him to suspend operations until the new vehicle was delivered.
The new vehicle was built by Demers, a Candadian company, and purchased through Northeast Rescue Vehicles of Syracuse.
According to Whitty, coordination with GAVAC, the city’s long-time ambulance provider, has gone well. Although the city will now take the lead in providing ambulance services to the city, GAVAC will continue to serve as a back-up when needed. He stressed that city residents should always call 911, not the fire department or GAVAC, in the event of a medical emergency.
“911 is the best way to summon any emergency service”, said Whitty, “They know who is in service and who is out of service. There’s no guess work. I met with the [Montgomery County] sheriff’s office and their dispatchers prior to this going online and we worked out an operational plan that worked for them and worked for us.”