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Letters to the Editor

January 7, 2014

Volunteer EMS system has problems|

I returned to live in upstate New York in April and noticed the volunteer fire and EMS have stopped or slowed responses to calls in Delaware County and parts of nearby Schoharie County.

I have listened to the scanner, and the Grand Gorge Fire and EMS never responded to a call after 7 activations. It took five activations for Davenport respond to a call. It took nine activations for Roxbury, and a nearby town had to respond instead. 

Why do they volunteer? Should we pay $10 million or $20 million more in county taxes for a full-time fire and EMS? Why does Cooperstown Medical Transport have to respond for ambulance calls? I am aware that a lot of people work. I am aware of the hundreds of sick-person calls for people that should truly be in a nursing home. 

Shouldn’t places like Robinson Terrace and other homes have private ambulance services to free up the volunteer EMS for rescue? Should towns be able to charge for chronic sick-person EMS calls to offset the cost? What happened to the "golden hour" EMTs need to save people’s lives? People are dying needlessly. Would people stop using volunteer EMS as a ride to the hospital if they had to pay for it with higher taxes or a $1,500 ambulance bill?

Jim Lane

Grand Gorge

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