In August the EMS Department will celebrate its 25th anniversary. The department starting providing EMS services to the Town at 6am on August 28, 1989. This is the story of where we were and what we have become in 25 years.
In 1986 the Town commissioned a study by Fitch & Associates to determine the best course of action to keep EMS in the Town of Colonie on the cutting edge. The Town had a very strong volunteer history in EMS, and in 1975 was among the first in the state to provide Advanced Life Support Paramedic level care.
A Task Force was formed to study the Fitch report and make its recommendation to the Town Board. In late 1988 the Task Force recommended the consolidation of the existing six independent volunteer squads into a Town EMS Department. The Town hired a Director and 12 career staff members to support daytime operations. The night and weekends were covered by volunteers responding to 4,500 calls a year. We have grown to almost 100 career staff members, now managing approximately 10,000 requests for service each year.
The EMS Department is much more than just an ambulance service. We bring high quality patient care to the patient’s side no matter where they may be trapped, in a confined space, contaminated with hazardous materials, auto accident, rope rescue, or in the water. In 1993 the Town was approached by the State Police to team up and provide helicopter EMS services to the Region. This unique partnership has broadened our experience and improved our abilities to serve our community.
In 2013 we were approached by the Police Department to integrate paramedics in the SWAT Team to bring treatment to the victims of active shooters.The Town of Colonie has always been ranked one of the best and safest places to live. This rating is primarily derived from crime statistics, but I think everyone knows we have some of the best emergency services in the area, if not the state.
Over the last 25 years some of the names and faces have changed but the mission is still the same, to provide the best patient care possible to the residents and visitors of the Town. It’s always been our motto to “Get there fast! Do a good job! Look good, and smile!” Keep up the good work!
Congratulations and Happy 25th Anniversary! I am proud to be your Chief and it’s been an honor serving with you!
Peter Berry, Chief Colonie Emergency Medical Services