Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is not an essential service in New York State.

Hours of Training for Initial Medical Certification

  • Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) (CFR) - 48-60 Classroom Hours Within 4 Months
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) - 150-190 Classroom Hours Within 6 Months
  • Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT) - 160-200 Classroom Hours Within 8 Months
  • Critical Care Technician (CC) - 300-400 Classroom Hours Within 9 Months
  • Paramedic - 1,000-1,200 Classroom Hours Within 12 Months
  • Each Level Has Additional Hours For Reading, Practical Skills and Review

Delaware County Ambulance Service

Delaware County officials are in the process of setting up a countywide EMS service. Full-time, paid EMTs will staff two ambulances and a fly car. It’s likely a commercial ambulance service will be contracted by the county to supply the personnel, vehicles and equipment. This service will supplement existing volunteer and other emergency ambulance services currently operating in the county.

Harpersfield/Kortright/Stamford Non-Profit Ambulance Service

Independent of a Delaware County ambulance service, a full-time, paid EMT-staffed ambulance service is being developed specifically for the combined towns of Harpersfield, Kortright and Stamford. This will supplement any existing EMS services provided by local fire departments. The non-profit will be led by a paid administrator and supported by a seven-person volunteer board of directors. The board will be composed of area residents experienced in emergency medical care, business and finance.

Schoharie County Ambulance Service

Schoharie County supervisors recently formed an EMS ambulance/transport service staffed by full-time, paid EMTs to assist fire department and other EMS groups currently operating in the county. An ambulance and two EMTs are available to respond 24/7. A Schoharie County paramedic and fully equipped fly car is also available to assist in patient care. The Schoharie County ambulance and EMTs respond to emergency medical situations in the Gilboa and Jefferson portions of the Stamford Joint Fire District along with volunteer EMTs from the Stamford Fire Department. The Schoharie County ambulance does not serve other areas in Delaware County.

New EMT trainees for the Stamford Fire Department

Three volunteer members of the Stamford Fire Department are set to begin the long training commitment required to become Basic Level Emergency Medical Technicians. The students must attend class twice weekly for three months. EMT certification by the NYS Health Department requires passing both practical and written exams upon completion of the course. All EMTs must renew their certification every three years with additional training. A shortage of trained volunteers is one of the most significant issues facing fire and EMS departments. New volunteer EMTs and firefighters are a welcome and valuable addition to their communities.

Are Local First Responders Professionals?

First responders are individuals or groups of individuals who initially respond to calls for help or assistance from the public. Responders could be police officers, firefighters or emergency medical technicians.

Most people know that state police, county sheriffs, conservation officers and other law enforcement officers must attend a police academy for instruction.

Local fire department volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) must also attend NYS sponsored classroom and practical experience instruction.

Training for the basic level EMT is especially rigorous, requiring 208 hours of classroom instruction followed by passing both practical and written examinations before an individual is certified by the NYS Health Department to treat patients. The requirements to become a more advanced EMT and especially a paramedic are much more extensive.

By definition, a professional is someone who has demonstrated his or her competence by training, examination and certification. The local fire department EMTs, though volunteer and unpaid, are certainly professionals.

What Happens When You Dial 911?

When we have an emergency of some sort — fire, accident, law or medical — we know to call 911. As long as there is a telephone connection the call will be answered by an emergency services dispatcher. Information will be gathered, and a decision will be made on what type of first responders are needed. The dispatcher then contacts the appropriate fire, police or EMS agency. Ideally, help is on the way within minutes.

Except, in many cases for emergency medical situations in this area, it may take much longer than a few minutes for help to get on the way. Why? Because

there are very few trained and certified fire department volunteer EMTs. As volunteers they are not on duty full time.  These dedicated people typically have jobs and other life responsibilities.

In the event the local fire department EMS is unavailable, the dispatcher will reach out to EMS squads progressively farther from the patient’s location. There have been times when a patient has had to wait over an hour for an ambulance to arrive.

Even the commercial, for-profit ambulance service American Medical Response (AMR), which contracts with most of the local fire department EMSs to provide automatic assistance, isn’t always available. AMR’s limited staff may be on a call in another part of the county or even in another county.

The best remedy to these long, possibly life-threatening waits is to develop a full-time ambulance service staffed by paid EMTs dedicated to serving a specific geographic area. Volunteers backed by a full-time EMS service greatly increases the favorable outcome for a sick or injured individual.

Stamford Joint Fire District

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