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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Your input is needed to shape our special report on emergency medical services in Saratoga County

What happens when you call for an ambulance in Saratoga County?

Who will show up? How long will it take? What kind of care can they provide on the spot? Where will they take you? What will it cost you?

Those are among the questions The Saratogian news team is investigating for a special upcoming report on emergency medical services in Saratoga County.

The topic is timely. Numerous area nonprofit ambulance corps are struggling for operating revenue. And Saratoga Springs has turned its emergency medical calls over to its firefighters, eliminating a duplication of effort.

Last week, the Saratoga County emergency services coordinator and representatives of several ambulance squads met with Saratogian staffers for an informal and informative discussion about the challenges they are facing. That session helped us to focus on the information we need to gather and the topics we ought to pursue for this project.

We’d like your help, too.

If you have an experience to share, please contact us at You might be someone who has called for emergency medical services in Saratoga County for yourself or a family member. You might be someone who provides it, as a volunteer or a paid employee. Or you just might have some ideas about what we should address in telling this story.

Your comments will be most helpful if you include contact information so we can get back to you, for clarification or more information, or perhaps to arrange for an on-the-record interview. We will accept anonymous suggestions, too.

One day, as a teenager, I was visiting my grandmother in her high-rise apartment in Brooklyn when she passed out. In a panic, I called 911. I don’t remember how long the ambulance took to get there, but it seemed like forever. My grandmother came to and was all right by the time the crew arrived, but that frantic waiting, waiting for help stuck in my mind as a definite downside to living in a big city.

Growing up in Brooklyn, constant sirens became background noise. As an adult living in the small city of Saratoga Springs, a siren registers these passing thoughts: Could a loved one be in an accident? Is this the sound of a news story? I hope everyone is OK.

Unless you see a medical emergency or are having one, you don’t think much about what happens when you call 911. Yet if you do call it, you expect help — fast.

We’ll keep you posted on the progress of our special report, which we hope to plan to have ready for Emergency Medical Services Week in May. Meanwhile, please share your suggestions and experiences to help us tell this story.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do we still need a duplication of services from the SSFD. Why does the ambulance have to be followed by four more FF's in the fire truck. Additional costs. Poor planning or just nothing better to do.

April 5, 2012 at 6:52 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Several numbers were thrown around at the last meeting but revenue to date was not mentioned. Are we billing yet. Why does the fire truck need to follow our own ambulance crew now that the City is the main provider. What were the results of the investigation and arrest of the suspended FF. There must be some update. Blood testing whic Commissioner Frnack brought up is a no brainer has not been discussed since. This should not be part of contract negotiation. It should have been part of the initial package that was so poorly planned with a financial that had more holes in it than the charter change petition. Maybe we should stop entertaining buying a swamp whic would be open space whether we purchase it or not and put that money to use hiring another FF, Policeman or a PT crew to clean parking lots, sidewalks and curbing on weekend.Back to EMS what will be the detreming factor when we reach the sunset clause next year. if we continue to ake over 90% of the calls Empire will not survive Is that the plan/agenda. If so we need to address better staffing arrangements beause out FFs soe of which did not support this move are wearing thin and look weary. Just a little start for your format.

April 22, 2012 at 5:44 PM 

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