CBS6 took a ride with an ambulance with the Johnstown Fire Department. This is one of the six different ambulance providers in the area that agreed to come together and create a whole new system of coverage after they found out that close to 60 ambulance workers in Fulton County were out of a job.
The Johnstown Fire Department has answered at least five ambulance calls since a new dispatching system went into effect on Friday.
That came right after the Ambulance Service of Fulton County abruptly closed its doors – leaving county officials short-staffed. But Jim McCredie of the Johnstown Fire Department and others are stepping up.
“People don’t have to worry they’re still gonna get an ambulance.”
Officials did have to move some pieces around. They spent the whole weekend drawing up assigned areas for the remaining ambulances. Three different providers cover each area, which is based off the county’s fire districts.
County EMS coordinator Mark Souza says this could benefit the most rural parts of the county.
“If they’re out of service over here, then we can have JAVAC come and take care of it. Their coverage is gonna be the same if not better than what it was in the past.”
And he’s hoping it can lower response times.
Steven Santa Maria of Fulton County Emergency Management said, “Our model was originally a 24-48 hour model just to get through a couple days to buy us some time. But quite honestly we’re finding that the model is working pretty well.”
County officials say that even with these staffing shortages they’ve still been able to answer every ambulance call within the last 48 hours. But they say the real test for this new system will be during the week.
County officials say they’ve gotten more than 30 ambulance calls since Friday evening. Sheriff Richard Giardino says during any medical emergencies you should still call 911. If it’s a medical situation but not an emergency, call (518) 736-2100.