Summer Safety

Summer is finally here! We have all been waiting eagerly for it, but have you prepared?

Here are tips to consider during the Summer to keep you and your loved ones happy, healthy and safe

Water Safety                                                                                              Water-related activities are popular in the Summer for a variety of reasons. Pools, Splash pads, lakes and rivers are all great ways to relax, cool off and have fun – but for your health and safety, remember a few things:                              • Why should you care?  Drowning is the 5th leading cause of unintentional death in the USA. Everyday, about 10 people die from drowning – of those 2 are 14 years old or younger. Among children ages 1-4, most drownings occurred in home swimming pools.  For every child who dies from drowning, 5 receive care for non fatal submersion injuries including brain injury and paralysis.                  •  If you are going to be in or around water, LEARN TO SWIMParticipation in formal swim lessons can reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning death by 88%.       *CEMS does not endorse any particular learn to swim program – that was just the first result from a simple web search)                     •  Teach children how to swim. Flotation aids and PFD’s are always a good idea for weak swimmers, but make sure they are worn properly and well fitted.         •  If there are going to be many people or any children swimming, someone should be watching AT ALL TIMES. That means, NO reading a book, NO being on the phone, NO #selfies… NO leaving or distractions unless everyone is out of the pool or someone else steps in to watch. It only takes a few SECONDS for an emergency to happen, and most drownings go unnoticed by untrained persons.  •  LEARN CPR                                                                                                  • Limit alcohol consumption. Among adolescents and adults, alcohol use is involved in up to 70% of deaths associated with water recreation, almost a quarter of Emergency Room visits for drowning, and about one in five reported boating deaths. Alcohol influences balance, coordination, and judgment, and its effects are heightened by sun exposure and heat.                                              • Do not drink the swimming water – it’s gross.

Extreme Heat                                                                                            Extreme heat causes more than 600 deaths per year and is PREVENTABLE. Persons at most risk for heat related injuries are people over the age of 65 and under the age of 4, and people with chronic diseases or mental illness.                                                                                                               • Check your air conditioning unit and have it serviced if needed. Clean any filters as well to ensure adequate air flow. Fans are not reliable ways to keep cool especially in times of high humidity.                                                                 • Inspect your doors and windows to make sure the weather stripping is intact     • Cover windows that receive lots of sun with curtains or blinds to keep the heat at bay                                                                                                             • Learn to avoid, spot and treat heat illness.                                                    • Stay hydrated! Drink more WATER than you usually do. Waiting until you are thirsty means you are already dehydrated. If you are going to be active outdoors, add electrolyte enhanced drinks to stay hydrated.                                              • Check on your neighbors, relatives, and friends, especially if they are elderly or live alone                                                                                                       • NEVER leave children or pets alone in closed, non-air-conditioned vehicles. ALWAYS check and double check to make sure there is not a sleeping child in the back seat of the car before you get out.

Severe Weather                                                                                              • Keep an eye on the sky! If conditions look threatening, head indoors.               • Be aware of the weather forecasts to plan your day accordingly• In the event of a severe thunderstorm, seek shelter indoors. Head for an interior room on a lower floor and stay away from windows.                                                           • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning (it can strike as far away as ten miles!)                                                                         • If a storm produces a lot of lightning, try to avoid using electrical appliances, wired telephones, and running water.                                                                • If strong winds are forecast, be sure to bring in any unsecured lawn furniture or other items to avoid debris.

Flooding                                                                                                             • Try to avoid traveling through any flood waters. It only takes a few inches of moving water to knock you off you feet. The same goes for driving – driving through collections of water should always be avoided.                                      • If flooding is anticipated, make sure your sump pump is in working order. it may become overwhelmed or fail if there are power outages so also pick any electronics off the floor to avoid any electrical shorts.                                         • Be prepared to evacuate if necessary; identify a safe place for you and your family to go or meet up in case your home is not safe.

In General                                                                                                       • We all love to sit around a nice fire on a warm summer night and enjoy a S’more (or two). Be mindful around fires – make sure there are no bans in effect and have an extinguisher at the ready.                                                              • Use a broad spectrum sunscreen and reapply frequently                                  • Use bug repellent to avoid bug bites and mosquito-borne diseases          •Fireworks are very popular this time of year, but please be responsible when using or watching.


We hope everyone has a wonderful, happy, healthy and safe summer!


Civilian Emergency Response

It is difficult to imagine ourselves during our everyday routine, in a situation where we are faced with life, death and survival. Sadly, it has become common occurrence for large gatherings, or even daily activities to become the target of bad people looking to do bad things.  Whether we are going to work, walking down the street or spending an evening out with our friends, the question we need to ask ourselves is how prepared are we to help ourselves and others in the event of an incident?

Being an Emergency Medical Service, we obviously would like you to be prepared for the more common incidence of a medical emergency by knowing basic first aid and CPR. Sadly, even our own focus has shifted to include training for the less likely, but more unsettling scenarios of shootings and other acts of violence that multiple victims are associated with.

The Albany County Sheriff shared a video on what to do during an active shooter incident. As an overview, you can view the video here.  The principles highlighted in this video can be applied to a variety of scenarios where you may find yourself waiting for help to arrive and needing to tend to others or even yourself, not just an active shooter.

Regardless of the event, you can do certain things to help yourself and others survive if injuries are sustained. It may so happen that the first responders you see, are not there to administer first aid or evacuate victims, so you may be waiting a while.

First and foremost, try to stay calm and get yourself to the safest place possible if you cannot evacuate the scene. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and call 911 when it is safe to do so.

Likely injuries to be seen during incidents such as shootings or even natural disasters, will involve bleeding. If someone is suffering from an arterial injury, they can die from blood loss in less than a minute. Placing direct pressure over the spot that is bleeding is the first step in attempting to stop deadly bleeding. Anything can be used make a bandage in an emergency, but the important part is constant pressure.

If constant pressure does not stop the bleeding, you may have to make and apply a tourniquet. You can make one (or several) with strips of cloth and a hard object such as a stick, pens, markers, scissors (you may have to use your imagination). If you or someone else is wearing a belt, that will work as well.

Unfortunately, some may be too injured for you to help. if you encounter someone who is not awake or will not answer you or follow direction, the best thing to do may be to leave them where they are in what is called the recovery position. Place the person on their side, with their bottom arm outstretched, top arm under the head and top knee bent to ensure they do not roll onto their stomach. The head should be somewhat tilted back  This is the safest position for them to be in if they are not awake or unable to move. 


When you see lights, Move to the right.

Please remember to pull over and stop for emergency in traffic. If you see emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road – Slow down and move a lane over.

A big thanks to WTEN News for highlighting this important issue.

Driving You Crazy: Move Over for Emergency Vehicles

Certified First Responder Course Will Be Offered Fall 2017

Thinking about becoming a first responder? This course is a great way to get your feet wet. Check it out!


Fall 2017 CFR Course Announcement

Fall 2017 CFR Class Schedule

Membership in NYS EMS Agencydoh-3312

“The times… they are a changin'”

It’s officially Spring, and new leaves are starting to show around Colonie EMS.

orange flowers

Asst. Chief Paul Fink Photo cred: Times Union

Asst. Chief Paul Fink
Photo cred: Times Union

Congratulations & Best Wishes!

First and foremost, Assistant Chief Paul Fink is retiring after 40 plus years of service with the Town of Colonie. Since 1975, Chief Fink has been providing Advanced Life Support (ALS) in Colonie. Throughout his career he has also worked locally with Guilderland EMS, the Regional Emergency Medical Organization (REMO) and the New York State Department of Health. Chief Fink is also a member of the NYS Division of Homeland Security Urban Search and Rescue team and served at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. He is currently a life member of the Latham Fire Department as well. Always on duty, one of his many accomplishments was earned while dining with his wife.  He was able to save a choking mans life,  earning him the REMO provider of the year award in 2014.

Since being one of the founding members of Colonie EMS in 1989, he has been involved in the Albany County hazardous materials team, NYSP Lifeguard Air Rescue Program as well as all the specialty rescue programs the EMS department participates in. His most recent efforts included helping organize the departments Tactical Medic program. In his spare day to day time, his responsibilities included managing the ambulance fleet, and ensuring the EMS department had all the supplies and equipment, from band aids to life saving medications, it needed to run smoothly.

We wish Chief Fink a long and happy retirement with his wife, he will be missed!

Asst. Chief Ray Hughes, Asst. Chief Jack Bevilacqua, Asst. Chief Paul Fink, Chief Peter Berry

Asst. Chief Ray Hughes, Asst. Chief Jack Bevilacqua, Asst. Chief Paul Fink, Chief Peter Berry

Asst. Chief Paul Fink and CPD Lt. Todd Weiss

Asst. Chief Paul Fink and Lt. Todd Weiss










ellingWe are also wishing well to Paramedic Robert (Bob) Elling, who is retiring. Bob has been a paramedic since 1974, and shortly after began working with NYC EMS. In 1988, Bob was on the task force that was formed to create the system we now call Colonie EMS. He was a member of West Albany Ambulance and Colonie Village Ambulance before joining Colonie EMS in 1992. In 1993, Bob became a flight medic here in Colonie in conjunction with the NYSP. If you know any EMS providers locally, there is a good chance Bob taught them at HVCC or they used a book he wrote to study; Bob has written an incredible amount of EMS education books over the years, and continues to do so. He is a proud and long time member of the American Heart Association serving on Regional, State and National faculty levels within the organization.

It has been an honor to have Bob here for so many years, and he will be missed. We wish you and your family all the best!

Paramedic Robert Elling and Chief Peter Berry

Paramedic Robert Elling and Chief Peter Berry



Congratulations to Captain Christopher Kostyun for his promotion to Assistant Chief! Chris joined CEMS in 1989, a year after he became a paramedic. He is a graduate of RPI with a degree in Computer Science. Chris also was a member of the West Albany Fire Department as well as Deputy Chief of Shaker Road Loudonville Fire Department from 2004-2005. Chris has been a Captain since 2003, and is looking forward to this new endeavor.

Asst. Chief Chris Kostyun, Chief Peter Berry, Town Supervisor Paula Mahan

Asst. Chief Chris Kostyun, Chief Peter Berry, Town Supervisor Paula Mahan


NYSP Sgt. Bak, Paramedic Frankie Rodriguez, Captain Chris Rench, NYSP Lambert

NYSP, Paramedic Frankie Rodriguez, Captain Chris Rench, NYSP

Congratulations to Paramedic Christopher Rench on his promotion to Captain! Chris began his career with CEMS as a volunteer EMT in 2004. He is a graduate of the HVCC Paramedic Program, Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, and became a fulltime paramedic in 2006. Since then, Chris has become a CPR and ACLS instructor for the department and has been a flight medic since 2011. He also serves on the paramedic program faculty for SUNY Cobleskill.  For several months, Chris had been temporarily filling in as a Captain, however he is now officially permanent.


Captain Chris Rench, Chief Peter Berry, Town Supervisor Paula Mahan

Captain Chris Rench, Chief Peter Berry, Town Supervisor Paula Mahan

Welcoming our new Paramedics!

Congratulations to Paramedic Adam Patterson on being promoted from part time paramedic to full time paramedic! Adam graduated from the SUNY Cobleskill Paramedic Program in 2013, and has been working all over the Capital Region since then. He was hired with Colonie EMS in 2014 and we are happy to have him here full time now. Adam also is a graduate from SCCC with an Associates Degree in Fire Protection.

We are happy to welcome several new providers to the Colonie EMS family as well!

Tim LeBlanc, Chief Berry, Supervisor Mahan

Tim LeBlanc, Chief Berry, Supervisor Mahan

Tim LeBlanc is joining us as a part time paramedic. Tim is a former CEMS explorer and has been a paramedic since 2009. Since then he has been working as a paramedic at Greenport Rescue and Air Methods. Welcome Tim!




Robert Potter, Chief Berry, Supervisor Mahan

Robert Potter, Chief Berry, Supervisor Mahan

Robert Potter is joining us as a part time paramedic. Robert has been involved in EMS and fire services for 28 years. He has been a paramedic since 2004 and is currently a firefighter in the City of Albany. Welcome Robert!




Hayley Smith, Chief Berry, Supervisor Mahan

Hayley Smith, Chief Berry, Supervisor Mahan

Hayley Smith is joining us as a part time EMT. Hayley is a life long resident of Colonie and graduate of Siena College. She has been an EMT for 3 years and currently works at AMCH and Mohawk Ambulance. Welcome Hayley!




Bryce Foggo, Chief Berry, Supervisor Mahan

Bryce Foggo, Chief Berry, Supervisor Mahan

Bryce Foggo is joining us as a part time EMT. Bryce also grew up in Colonie and is a graduate of Hobart College. He has been an EMT for 3 years and currently works at AMCH and Western Turnpike Rescue Squad. Welcome Bryce!




Andrew Cohen, Chief Berry, Supervisor Mahan

Andrew Cohen, Chief Berry, Supervisor Mahan

Andrew Cohen is joining us as a part time EMT. Andrew is a life long resident of Colonie. He is a graduate of Siena College, retired Menands police officer after 20 years and former Menands Fire Chief. He is currently a volunteer firefighter for Midway FD and is an EMT graduate from the most recent EMT class offered by CEMS. Welcome Andrew!



Samantha Sullivan, Chief Berry, Supervisor Mahan

Samantha Sullivan, Chief Berry, Supervisor Mahan

Samantha Sullivan is joining us as a volunteer EMT. Samantha grew up in Colonie and is a graduate of Maria College. She has been an EMT since 2015. Welcome Samantha!





We look forward to continue to grow and evolve as an agency to better serve not only the community, but our members as well.


Retirees, promotions, new hires and Colonie Town Board members

As always, be well and be safe from our family to yours!

Complex Extrication Off Alternate 7

Colonie EMS and fire department personnel respond to a vehicle off a high angle embankment. This vehicle found itself at the bottom of a 40′ ravine wrapped around a tree. After a 2 hour long extrication process.