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New York Fire Department Seeks to Drop EMS Responses

TOWN OF WALLKILL Last year, Circleville firefighters responded to 176 medical emergency calls in its district one-third of the total calls it handled.

Now, they’re looking to cut those numbers significantly.

The district recently decided it will no longer provide automatic response for medical calls. Department Chief Walter Szulwach says that with two ambulance companies in the town, as well as one ambulance stationed at its firehouse on Goshen Turnpike, sending firefighters out to medical calls is redundant.

“It’s just not a prudent use of resources,” Szulwach says. “A lot of times when we responded to medical calls, an ambulance was already at the scene.”

It’s a step many fire companies throughout the region have taken. Most of the 52 Orange County fire companies don’t provide automatic response to medical calls, including 12 that don’t respond, period. Eighteen out of Ulster County’s 50 fire companies don’t respond to medical calls, nor do 26 of the 40 fire companies in Sullivan County. Sullivan County 911 coordinator Alex Rau says fire companies in Rock Hill, Bloomingburg and Wurtsboro have recently scaled back their medical-call responses.

Read More, Fire crews cut medical calls