Without donations for new ambulance, NY volunteer service may shut down
The department is seeking community help to raise $150,000 to replace an aging ambulance in order to continue to provide free emergency services to residents
ALEXANDER, N.Y. — Genesee County’s Alexander Fire Department hopes to raise enough money to replace a 15-year-old ambulance, or face closure.
If the department can’t raise the $150,000, residents will have to pay for ambulance services from other companies, EMS Captain Deb Speirs told Time Warner Cable News.
The Alexander Fire Department receives nearly $81,000 a year in fire protection taxes, but the ambulance service is 100 percent volunteer, and run completely on donations and fundraising.
The current ambulance is in bad shape, said EMT Kelly O’Neil.
"The salt agents on the roads these days; we have had to replace brake lines and everything like that underneath it,” she said. “The rust really takes a toll on everything.”
The prospect of shutting down the service is heartbreaking for her.
"It's something I wanted to do all my life,” she said. “I was really excited to become an EMT and then to find out we might not keep the service is something that really upsets me.”
Of the department’s nearly 200 calls per year, 80 percent are medical. The service also assists on fire calls.
"When we have the big fires, we are not only there to assist the residents and everything but the firefighters too," Speirs said.
O’Neil said the fire department has always felt it was their duty to help the community without billing residents, and she hopes the service survives.
"We always try to be first on the scene to get help started as fast as possible,” O’Neil said. “We don't want any of our friends and neighbors waiting for medical care.