Fall EMT Original Course

Good news, we are hosting a EMT course! If you are looking to become an EMT or know someone who does, this is a great opportunity. The course is open to all and will run from September 1 to the end of December, at which point students will have the opportunity to become NYS certified EMT basic providers. Instructors include Andrew Stern, Lois Deluca, and Erin Kelly. If you have any questions please reach out to the department. We look forward to seeing you!

Fall 2015 EMT original Course flyer

Are you ready?


Emergencies can happen at any time. It is vitally important to be as prepared as possible at all times. Simple steps to being prepared include, having an emergency supply kit, having a family emergency plan, and be informed about what emergencies or disasters are likely to occur where you live or work.

It is strongly recommended that you have an emergency supply kit stocked with enough supplies for 3 days. You may also want to consider, having more than one kit for your workplace, car or other location you spend time.

What should be in your Emergency Kit?

  • Water – a minimum of 1 gallon per person per day for at least three days
  • Food – nonperishable items for at least three days (can opener if needed)
  • Battery powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA weather radio
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries of various sizes
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask or other respiratory protection
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape in the event of a shelter-in-place emergency
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Basic tools such as a hammer, pliers, wrench, etc…
  • Local and regional maps
  • Cash or travelers checks
  • Important family documents such as insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof portable container
  • Matches and candles
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Various clothes to account for different weather conditions
  • Sleeping bags and/or blankets – make sure rated for the temperatures and climate of your area
  • Household bleach and a medicine dropper – diluted 9:1 (water: bleach) can be used as a disinfectant or in an emergency to treat water, use 15 drops to one gallon.
  • If you have pets, make sure you have water and food for them
  • If you have children, make sure you have diapers, formula, games or other activities
  • Prescription medications and glasses; also over the counter remedies such as pain relievers and an antidiarrheal
  • Feminine supplies and hygiene items


Every household has unique needs, so make sure you have the necessary supplies to get by in an emergency.

Talk about emergencies with all members of your household. Even if you have young children, discuss what to do in terms they will understand. Once you have a plan in place, make sure everyone in the household knows what it is, and practice it!

Check out some more links for ideas to become prepared:





Spring Considerations

There is no doubt everyone welcomed the arrival of Spring this year. Along with opening up the windows and cleaning up the yard, this is a great time to consider some health and safety ideas. Here are some recommendations from the EMT’s and Paramedics at Colonie EMS:sun


If you haven’t already, change the batteries and test the function of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon-monoxide-awareness Alarms should be located in every bedroom and in the common areas on each floor of your home. Mount them at least 10 feet from the stove to reduce false alarms, less than 12 inches from the ceiling and away from windows, doors and ducts. 


Practice evacuation and emergency drills at home with your family. Fire drills are not just for schools! Make sure you have a meeting place outside and everyone in the house knows how to get out. It is a great time to replenish or restock your emergency supplies in the home!



Watch out for motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians while you are driving.



Have children’s helmets and other protective gear properly sized. These are not something that children can grow into, and they definitely can be helmetppegrown out of. If protective gear does not fit properly, they will not offer sufficient protection or even cause more harm. It is also the law that anyone ages 1-14 must wear helmets while operating bicycles, non-motorized scooters and skateboards. Parents may face a fine if these laws are not followed.


A teenager wears recommended clothing and safely mows the lawn.

A teenager wears recommended clothing and safely mows the lawn.


Be careful when doing yard work. Chemicals, tools, lawnmowers etc., can cause serious injury or death. Make sure you know children and animals are in a safe place while working in the yard and especially operating power tools and lawn mowers. If you have a riding lawnmower or yard tractor, children should not sit on laps while mowing, ever!




Check yourself, family members and pets for ticks. Lyme disease and other tick borne illnesses are prevalent in this area.tickdiseases


Bees and other stinging insects are now out and active. If you or your children have known allergies, make sure there is an EpiPen readily available. If you are not sure what the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction are, click here.  Allergies in general are predicted to be severe this year. Keep an eye on the allergy forecasts, as these may worsen illness’s such as asthma.


It is never too early to wear sunscreen. Anything above an SPF 15 is effective in reducing the risk of skin damage that can lead to skin cancer (and signs of aging) when reapplied frequently. And yes, indoor tanning counts as sun exposure. sunblock

From everyone here at Colonie EMS, we wish you a happy, healthy and safe Spring!

Teamwork Saves Lives In Colonie

Thanks to the quick thinking of a bystander and Colonie Center Security, as well as quick response times by EMS responders, a local woman was given the best chances of survival.
Colonie EMS Paramedics and EMTs worked with first responders as a team to restart a heart. Paramedic Captain Paul Sugrue, Paramedic Raymond Faluszczak, EMTs Dale Hebert & Paramedic Student Sean Carmody.

Colonie EMS Paramedics and EMTs worked with first responders from Fuller Road Fire Department as a team to restart the woman’s heart with the initial AED being placed by Colonie Center Security Assistant Director Joseph Sholtes.

On Tuesday May 19, 2015 at 11:30 AM officials report a 49 year old female had collapsed suddenly at the Colonie Center Mall. 911 was called and Colonie Center Security Assistant Director Joseph Sholtes (also a trained EMT) & Security Officer Vince Malatino responded with an AED, they found an off duty nurse had started CPR as the patient was not breathing.
Colonie Center Security Assistant Director Joseph Sholtes, a trained EMT, and Vince Malatino responded with an AED at Colonie Center Mall.

Colonie Center Security Assistant Director Joseph Sholtes, a trained EMT, and Vince Malatino responded with an AED at Colonie Center Mall.

Within 4 minutes of the woman collapsing, the security officers had applied an AED unit and delivered two shocks to help restart the woman’s heart. While continuing CPR, first responders from Fuller Road Fire Department arrived, along with Town of Colonie EMS Paramedic units minutes later.

After paramedics took over and delivered another shock, her heart began to beat on its own. The patient was stabilized, an ECG was transmitted to the Emergency Room & cardiologists on call were awaiting her arrival at Albany Medical Center.

The nurse’s identity, who had started CPR, is unknown. If anyone has information about who the person is that started CPR, please contact the EMS department office at 518-782-2645 ext 0.

The American Heart Association reports that annually over 360,000 people go into a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). National survival rates are approximately 10%, chances of survival increase three fold if bystander CPR is initiated and an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) is applied.

The Colonie EMS department was awarded the 2010 Heart Safe Community award by the International Association of Fire Chiefs, has received awards regionally and state wide for enhancing cardiac arrest survival in the town of Colonie.

Anyone can learn hands-only CPR, it’s easy and it only takes 2 minutes. The more bystanders that are trained, the more likely a person is to survive a cardiac arrest.

To host a free hands-only training session for your community group in Colonie, please contact us here. Large group sessions can take as little as 1 hour to complete.

In New York, AEDs can be purchased by businesses and located for the public to access in case of an emergency such as this one. These can cost less than $1,000 and there is a $500 business tax credit through NYS for each unit purchased. If you have any questions about CPR or getting an AED, please contact our training department 518-782-2645 ext 6 .


The media can contact Colonie EMS Assistant Chief Jack Bevilaqua at 518-782-2645 ext 6 for more information.

Susan Spaccarelli is the Media contact for the mall 518-459-9020

Susan Ford is the Media contact for Albany Medical Center 518.262.3421.

EMT of the Year – Lois DeLuca

Lois - CPR TrainingThe Colonie EMS Department is proud to announce that Lois DeLuca has been chosen as the 2015 EMT of the Year by the American Legion Zaloga Post on Everett Road. Lois is a 23 year member joining CEMS in 1992 as an Emergency Medical Technician. In 1995, Lois became an American Heart Association CPR Instructor and in 2000 became the CPR coordinator for the department.

Lois was instrumental in the implementation of the 2005 American Heart Association standard changes that have resulted in a remarkable improvement in bystanders CPR, from 0% in 2005 to 65% in 2014, and a survival rate for the victims of cardiac arrest from 3% to 23% respectively. These improvements were so impressive; the Town received national recognition in 2010 as the Heart Safe community by the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

Lois has trained or facilitated the training of over 10,000 people since she took on the role as coordinator. Her efforts don’t stop with CPR. She has maintained a productive relationship with our senior population in the town. Lois visits with our senior citizen groups monthly providing blood pressure screening and information about general heath related issues.

There are not many people that have the dedication or compassion that Lois has displayed. Her efforts have made a difference not only for the department but for our entire community.

Thank you Lois!


In Memory of Meaghan Sammons

Our hearts are still heavy with the loss of Meaghan. We would like to share some of the coverage of Meaghan’s life. Meaghan was a wonderful part of the Colonie EMS family, and she will be missed.
meg2Sammons, Meaghan C. ALBANY Meaghan C. Sammons (Nichols), 39, passed away in her home on Saturday, March 28, 2015, with her loving family by her side. Meaghan was born on May 15, 1975, to Chuck and Donna Nichols. Meaghan was a graduate of Colonie Central High School, class of 1993. She continued her education at North Adams State, SCCC, and SUNY Albany. After college, she began her 18-year career at Girls Incorporated of the Greater Capital Region. Throughout the years she held many positions, most recent being director of programs. Meaghan is survived by her loving husband, Robert; her parents, Chuck and Donna; her sisters, Nicole (Roxanne) Nichols and Danielle (Richard) LaPierre; her nieces and nephew, Emma and Riley LaPierre, Kyle and Madelyn Farnell; her in-laws, Robert and Susan Sammons; her grandmother, Evelyn Crawford, and her two “kids” (dogs), Snoopy and Bella. She is also survived by a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, family and friends. In 2004 Meaghan joined the Midway Fire Department. This quickly grew as a passion of hers and led her to become chief of the department, and the first female chief in the Town of Colonie. She was also a member of Colonie EMS. Meaghan enjoyed playing with her nieces and nephew, softball, and slots at Saratoga. Meaghan will be remembered as a diehard Derek Jeter and Yankees fan. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Meaghan’s name to Midway Fire Department, 1956 Central Ave., Albany, NY 12205, or Girls Inc., 962 Albany St., Schenectady, NY 12307. Meaghan’s family would like to thank the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Dr. Nadine McCleary), the Community Hospice staff (Elizabeth Hanlon), especially her friends who helped with her care, Kathy Boomhower, Diana Suits and Theresa Moran. Calling hours will be held at New Comer Funeral Home, 343 New Karner Road, Albany, on Friday, April 3, 2015, from 4-8 p.m., with a funeral service held at the funeral home on Saturday, April 4, 2015, at 10 a.m. Midway Fire Department requests its members to be in full dress uniform Friday, April 3, 2015, at 7 p.m., at the funeral home for a fire department memorial service. – See the guest book and obituary site here.

Emergency Traffic

light barPop quiz! Do you remember what you are supposed to do when you see or hear an emergency vehicle approaching? If it has been a while since you took your driving exam, here are some sample questions from the DMV exam (the answers are in bold):



When do emergency vehicles with flashing lights and sirens have the right of way?

    1. In intersections.
    2. While driving on the right side of the road.
    3. In all circumstances.
    4. While on your side of a divided median.

When approached by an emergency vehicle with flashing lights and siren in operation, what should you do?

    1. Ensure that you stay at least 150 meters ahead of the emergency vehicle.
    2. Stop wherever you are.
    3. Turn up the volume on the stereo.
    4. Pull over to the curb and stop.

When approached by an emergency vehicle with flashing lights and siren in operation, under what circumstances is it OK not to stop?

    1. When on the opposite side of a divided highway median.
    2. There’s room for the emergency vehicle to pass you.
    3. When your emergency is more important than theirs.
    4. When you are able to stay ahead of the emergency vehicle.

How did you do? If you did not do as well as you thought, it is alright. Here is some advice written by our own paramedic Martinovich that should help clear up any questions you may have about what to do when driving and you see some bright lights in your rear view:

Imagine this, it is early evening and you are driving home from work and traffic is pretty heavy. You start to notice vehicles in front of you are pulling over, but you are not sure why. Not thinking anything of it you go around them and then all of a sudden you hear a loud noise and look in your mirrors to see an ambulance with its lights and sirens on. You quickly, and hopefully safely, react and move over.

This is not uncommon at all, and actually it happens on a daily basis. Sometimes you may not be able to hear the sirens, especially in newer vehicles. The sound proofing and technology of newer vehicles is so improved that it deadens the sounds of sirens and air horns. If you see people pulling over be sure to check your mirrors because they may be hearing something you are not.

Some people stop dead in the road, others move to the left, and some move to the right. So what is the right (and legal) thing to do?…..

right arrowMove to the Right and Stop For Lights and Sirens!  stop sign

What is an emergency vehicle? An emergency vehicle is defined as a police vehicle, ambulance or fire departLatham EMS4 CPD and CEMSment vehicle, (i.e. engines, trucks or chief vehicles). These vehicles can be defined by their flashing lights. In New York State, emergency vehicles will have red, white or combination of red and white lights. Most of these vehicles also have reflective designs on them for identification.

What to do when approached? When approached by an emergency vehicle, whether from behind you or approaching you, slow down, pull to the right and stop. It is important for you to make the stop because if for some reason that emergency vehicle has to make an DSC00592immediate move to the right, to avoid another car not obeying the traffic law, or a pedestrian or animal, you stopping your vehicle will allow them to have the room to appropriately proceed through traffic and not delay their response to the emergency. Just pulling to right and slowing down next to them could cause another accident if any of the above situations arise. Remain stopped on the shoulder of the road until the emergency vehicle has passed you. Be sure to check for additional emergency vehicles before returning into traffic.

Take time to review the NYS Traffic Law here.

This is not to be mistaken for the operation of your vehicle when approaching a parked, stopped or standing authorized emergency vehicle. Whenever you approach a police officer on the shoulder or a motor vehicle accident on the road you must use extreme caution and regard to avoid colliding into the vehicles or the personnel working on the side of the road. Slow down and move to the farthest lane from where the incident is taking place. Thecaution vehicles will be well marked but sometimes the personnel on the road may not be. Stay aware as you make your way passed the incident! This is a new law that took effect in January 2011. There have been too many injuries and deaths of emergency services providers, police personnel and bystanders from being struck by vehicles not involved in the original incident.


Drive safely and stay alert!



Spring Training


Train hard. Work hard.

It is Spring training season here at Colonie EMS. For two weeks semiannually, we take time to review our rescue skills and get operational updates from administration. This year we are excited to be adding a new skill to our rescue operations, trench rescue. In the near future, Colonie EMS will be added to the response team with Colonie Fire Company to trench rescues. Colonie Fire Company is the areas resource for trench rescue and we are very honored to be able to work with them. CEMS providers will be trained to the awareness level in order to provide support services to the technicians with CFC. In addition to this training, we are also practicing our confined space rescue skillsspringup2015springup20152 springup20153 springup20154 springup20155 springup20156 springup20157





Captain Kostyun, Incident command

Captain Kostyun, Incident command

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Asst. Chief Bevilacqua

Asst. Chief Bevilacqua

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Stay tuned for more photos and updates…..


Cold Temperature Considerations

cold-weather2As you may have noticed… it is cold out! Extremely cold temperatures make staying warm and safe a challenge. Exposure to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outside, can cause other serious or life-threatening health problems. Anyone can be affected, however infants and the elderly are particularly at risk. Here is some information to help you stay healthy and safe during this extreme cold.


  • The World Health Organization suggests keeping indoor temperatures between 64 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit for healthy people. Ideally the temperature should be kept above 68 degrees Fahrenheit to protect the very young, the elderly, or people with health problems.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia – shivering, confusion, memory loss, drowsiness, exhaustion and slurred speech. Infants who are suffering from hypothermia may appear to have very low energy and bright red, cold skin. Frostbite symptoms include numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin. Call 911 immediately if you suspect you or someone you know is suffering from either condition.
  • When outside, especially in high wind conditions, take extra precautions to reduce the risk of hypothermia and frostbite. Be sure your outer layer of clothing is tightly woven to reduce body-heat loss caused by wind, and cover exposed skin.
  • Listen to your body! Do not ignore shivering – it is an important sign that your body is losing heat and a signal to quickly return indoors.
  • Cold weather puts an extra burden on the heart. If you have cardiac problems or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s orders about shoveling or performing any strenuous exercise outside.
  • Healthy adults should remember that their bodies already are working overtime just to stay warm. Dress appropriately and work slowly when doing heavy outdoor chores.
  • Bring your pets indoors. Yes, they have fur but extreme temperatures effect them too. Also, salt from roads and walkways can damage their paws and may lead to inadvertent toxic ingestion.icicle_photos_Muffet
  • If you are having trouble paying your bills this winter, you can call or visit the NYS Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) website or Hotline at 1-800-342-3009.
  • Be a good neighbor – check on your neighbors, especially if they are elderly.
  • Do your best to clear walkways of snow and ice to avoid injury from falls. Use extreme caution in clearing your roof; consider using a specialist who has the right tools. Falling icicles and heavy snow can cause life threatening injuries.

If you need to use extra sources of heat to stay warm…

  • Take precautions to avoid exposure to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
    • Carbon monoxide (CO) is a potentially deadly gas. It is colorless, odorless, tasteless and non-irritating. It is produced by burning fuels such as wood, oil, natural gas, kerosene, coal and gasoline.
    • Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to the flu but do not include a fever. At lower levels of exposure, a person may Carbon-monoxide-awarenessexperience a headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Exposure to very high levels of carbon monoxide can result in loss of consciousness and even death.
  • Make sure you have smoke and CO alarms in your home. Test them once a month and replace the batteries twice a year. Wood stoves, space heaters, electric heaters, kerosene heaters and pellet stoves can be dangerous unless proper safety precautions are followed. DO NOT start your car to warm up in a garage.
  • Try to avoid using extension cords to plug in space heaters. If you have to, make sure they do not become a trip and fall hazard and do not run extension cords under rugs. Make sure supplemental heaters are in a safe place to avoid being knocked over unintentionally.
  • To avoid frozen pipes, keep the heat on and set no lower than 55 degrees.  You can also let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing, open cabinet doors to allow more heat to get to non-insulated pipes under a sink or appliance near an outer wall.

In order to prepare for extreme cold temperatures…

  • In your home, keep several days’ supply of food that needs no cooking or refrigeration (remember baby food and formula if you have young children), water stored in clean containers (5 gallons per person), and medicines that any family member may need.
  • In your car, keep the gas tank near full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines. Make sure your vehicle is up to date on maintenance and serviced including the radiator system serviced, replace windshield-wiper fluid with a wintertime mixture, replace any worn tires, and check the air pressure in the tires.

For more info on how to prepare for extreme cold conditions, please check the CDC guide here.

Staying Healthy During Flu Season

It is here again, and this year Flu season is making a big impact. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has classified this season as severe based on early data and there aren’t any signs of it slowing down. Influenza, “the flu”, is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by a virus that can result in mild to significant illness and may even lead to death. Here are some facts and suggestions to keep you Flu-free and healthy!

Flu symptoms include:

  • A 100oF or higher fever or feeling feverish – however not everyone with the flu has a fever
  • A cough and/or sore throat
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea – this is most common in children and may lead to severe dehydration quickly

Seek medical attention or call 911 immediately if you or someone you are caring for experience any of the following:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Difficult to arouse – it is normal to be tired and sleep is a great thing to help you feel better, but if you cannot wake someone up call 911
  • Severe or persistent vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • If you or someone had Flu-like symptoms that improved but then returned with fever and worse cough

Think you or someone in the house has the flu…

  • Getting plenty of rest – kick your feet up (you deserve it) and limit your exposure with others in the house
  • Drinking clear fluids like water, broth, sports drinks (diluted with water), or electrolyte beverages to prevent becoming dehydrated
  • Placing a cool, damp washcloth on your forehead, arms, and legs to reduce discomfort associated with a fever
  • Putting a humidifier in your room to make breathing easier
  • Gargling salt water (1:1 ratio warm water to salt) to soothe a sore throat
  • Covering up with a warm blanket to calm chills, turn up the heat if you can (sweat it out…remember to rehydrate)
  • Over the counter medications are great to reduce the symptoms of the flu, however please read the label if you are purchasing multiple medications. Many of them contain the same or similar ingredients and taking too much can cause serious health problems. Ask your pharmacist or doctor if you have any questions about what to take.
  • There are prescription antiviral medications available from your doctor if you have the flu. They work best if taken early, but no medication is without side effects, so please be sure to ask your doctor what those side effects are.

Don’t have the flu and want to keep it that way…

  • Get vaccinated. If you are not sure where, click here and type in your zip code.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Try to avoid, or at least limit close contact with sick people.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food. Good health habits protect you from more than the flu.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
  • Washing your hands with soap and water and alcohol-based hand sanitizers may dry your skin out, so keep your hands pretty with a moisturizer. Intact and healthy skin is the primary barrier from all kinds viruses and bacteria that will make you sick from entering your body.
  • Invest in a disinfectant to clean common areas and items frequently handled such as bathrooms, children’s toys, cellphones, keys, steering wheels, etc. Make sure you read the directions for proper and safe usage.