The Town of Cornwall and Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson will continue to use emergency medical services provided by the Town of New Windsor until Dec. 31, 2021.
The contract, according to Town of New Windsor Supervisor George Meyers, states that the Town of New Windsor provides Advanced Life Services (ALS) through their ambulance core. Along with ALS services, Meyers has noted that the New Windsor ambulances have also responded to Basic Life Support Services (BLS) calls.
In the contract, the Town of New Windsor receives a payment of $12,000 a month from the other two municipalities. A payment of $6000 comes from each municipality respectively, according to Meyers. The town recently received a check for $36,000, Meyers said.
If the contract was not possible, then the services were not possible, says Meyers. For Meyers, creating the contract helps with other expenses, costs and personnel. “The number one priority for me was making sure that I had sufficient personnel in New Windsor to respond to New Windsor calls,” Meyers said.
Entering into this agreement, Town of Cornwall Supervisor Richard Randazzo was glad to have ALS services for the residents of the town should they ever need it. In the Town of Cornwall, The Cornwall Volunteer Ambulance Corps (COVAC) only currently offers Basic Life Support Services.
Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson Mayor James A. Gagliano also notes the usage of COVAC to cover the residents of both municipalities. Entering into the agreement with New Windsor gains the usage of ALS services that the Cornwall area does not currently offer.
With ambulance service limitations, the discussion of combining resources within municipalities is a conversation that must be discussed over the course of time, Gagliano says.
Michael Bigg serves as chief of operations for New Windsor Ambulance. According to Bigg, towns provide fire and police services to their municipalities while ambulance services are not considered essential in New York State.
“We’ve seen in the last few years a lot of municipalities have not had steady and reliable ambulance coverage,” Bigg said. In recent years, Bigg has seen the decline of volunteers due to the on-going pandemic which has made the need for services more important.
Bigg says other towns and municipalities make calls to New Windsor for services, which are rejected due to the distance or lack of coverage readily available. Other issues with coverage involve the ambulances getting back out to calls waiting on beds at hospitals and making sure that ambulances are cleaned properly due to the pandemic.
In recent years, Bigg has seen the need for paramedics, due to several municipalities not having many or none at all. According to Bigg, paramedics receive education for about two years and EMTs receive education in about four to five months.
Bigg suggests that ambulance corps in other municipalities could consider merging to combat this problem. Bigg also notes that Senator James Skoufis, New York State Assemblyman Colin Schmitt, Congressman Sean Maloney, and other state legislators and leaders have been contacted to address the problem. The contract concludes on December 31.