State Sen. Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, announced Friday that he will be sponsoring legislation to create local emergency medical districts throughout the Adirondacks.
“Due to its size and the difficulties in traveling, county emergency services for the Adirondacks face lengthier response times and more challenges providing essential services than in other parts of the state,” Stec said in a statement.
The bill would allow municipalities in Northern New York to combine resources and share services to more effectively provide essential emergency medical service to residents and visitors alike.
“By allowing Adirondack municipalities to create their own multi-town EMS districts, emergency medical services will be able to be delivered more reliably and rapidly,” Stec said. “Permitting collaboration between our towns, counties and villages just makes sense.”
According to information provided by the senator’s office, many small north country communities have experienced difficulty recruiting and retaining volunteers, and the creation of a larger multi-town district will go a long way to address the volunteer shortage.
Counties all over the country are having difficulty with recruitment of volunteers and response times to calls.
In Franklin County, Foothills EMS is a result of adapting to meet such challenges.
“The reason Foothills EMS came about was because there are fewer and fewer EMTs, and the couple of volunteers who were responding to nearly every call at a department, such as Chateaugay’s department, were getting burned out quickly,” said Craig Dumas, president of Foothills EMS. “Foothills EMS is a way to get response times to an acceptable level. We used to go through two or three alarms to get enough manpower to respond before, and it did not benefit the community whatsoever.”
According to Greg Perrigo, Foothills secretary and director, it took a great deal of coordination between three different town governments and the two villages to make Foothills happen.
Foothills EMS now provides coverage to the towns of Burke, Chateaugay and Brainardsville.