Ambulance service disbands due to shortage of volunteers
NY ambulance unable to meet growing demands for emergency transport
Islip Terrace, N.Y. — The Islip Terrace ambulance service disbanded for one year due to a shortage of EMT volunteers and inability to meet demands for service.
Nearby Exchange Ambulance Corps, already serving four other districts, is prepared and ready to take on the Islip Terrace call volume, CBS New York reports.
Like many departments, the Islip Terrace Fire Department has seen a drop in volunteers due to an aging population, changing workforce, and strained economy.
“They can’t handle the volume,” Fire Commissioner Tony Chiofalo said, referring to a lack of volunteers.
“You got a lot of really dedicated, committed people, but it’s very strained.”
During the one year period of not responding to emergency calls, the department will work to recruit and retain volunteers. Some Long Island communities have had success with innovative methods to add to their volunteer ranks. For instance, Commack ambulance district accepts non-residents and assigns volunteers to set shifts.
“They can schedule their time,” said Richard O’Brien, chairman of the board for the Commack Volunteer Ambulance Corps. “They know they are not on a call 24/7.”