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Conn. EMS nears $150K goal for ambulance, operations

The new Westport EMS ambulance won’t arrive until 2025 due to supply chain issues related to the pandemic


Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services/Facebook

Journal Inquirer

WESTPORT, Conn. — “It’s to provide that second-to-none service in the time of need when they’re having their medical crisis,” EMS Deputy Director Marc Hartog said.

Volunteers have set a goal for $150,000 for the fundraiser. So far, they’ve raised over $100,000 from residents and organizations, Hartog said.

Westport’s EMS is a combination service, so it is made up of six full-time, paid staff members and one part-time paid, combined with more than 80 volunteers.

Hartog said the town pays for salaries and benefits of its paid staff, department utilities and its contract with a paramedic for Norwalk Hospital . Everything else comes from volunteers’ fundraising efforts.

This money covers everything from bandages to ambulances, EKG monitors and stretchers, he said.

He added volunteers reach out to residents and organizations to secure these funds, starting around October and typically working for about six months for the next fiscal year, which starts in July. On top of that, the volunteers cover many hours responding to calls.

One of the main parts of the donations will go toward buying a new ambulance for their aging fleet. Compared to other departments that may need vehicles every three to five years, Westport EMS tends to buy new ambulances every 10 years.

But with supply chain issues still lingering from the COVID-19 pandemic, the new vehicle won’t come in until sometime in 2025. The department had to pay in advance for the vehicle, so the money raised this year will replenish what the department has already spent.

After its delivery, the vehicle would then have to be outfitted with equipment and features, which will take an additional few months, he said.

Pre-pandemic, the build period would only be about 90 to 120 days, Hartog said.

“We pride ourselves in having a really excellent service,” Hartog said, noting Westport’s top-of-the-line equipment, including modern ambulances.

From July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023, EMS responded to 2,445 calls for service, and transported 1,773 patients to the hospital, Hartog said. Another 429 patients were evaluated or treated but refused transport.

So far this year from July 1 EMS responded to 1,275 calls with 913 transports. Hartog said he expected over 2,500 calls and 1,800 transports by the end of June 2024.

And this calendar year, volunteers have donated over 13,000 hours at EMS, he said.

Those who are interested in donating can do so through the EMS website, or drop it off to their headquarters at 50 Jesup Road. EMS is also looking for volunteers, and will host a class for it in the spring.

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