The Citizen, Auburn, N.Y.
Though the Auburn Ambulance Service was poised to officially start Monday, Nov. 1, it began responding to calls a couple of days early.
Kezia Sullivan, director of operations for the city-run service, said in an interview with The Citizen Tuesday that crews started going out on calls Saturday, Oct. 30.
TLC Emergency Medical Services, the city’s longtime private ambulance provider, was still the primary agency dispatched until Nov. 1, but the new Auburn first responders went out that day and Sunday when TLC wasn’t available. Since TLC’s agreement with the city lasted through Oct. 31, the Auburn service took over as the city’s primary ambulance agency at midnight on the morning of Nov. 1.
Sullivan said that the agency had responded to approximately 30 calls as of early Tuesday afternoon. The city-run undertaking has all five of its ambulances available.
The Auburn service’s first few days have been going well, she continued, adding that she appreciates the support received from agencies such as the Auburn Fire Department, city staff, Cayuga County 911, the Central New York Emergency Medical Services Program and the state Department of Health Bureau of Emergency Medical Services.
In October, Auburn Ambulance Service passed the state Department of Health full service inspection, which determined that the agency has met the state requirements for equipment and supplies in the ambulances and the station. She also said the service’s policies were reviewed to ensure those met state requirements, and that the service had appropriate storage facilities at the station.
“We were confident going into it,” Sullivan said.
At an Auburn City Council meeting Oct. 28, City Manager Jeff Dygert said the state “deemed the service ready to provide service, which was actually almost unprecedented, to have them come in, do an inspection on a brand-new service and not find any deficiencies.” He credited Sullivan and the ambulance staff.
Auburn’s ambulance system is based at the fire station at 23 Market St., where the service is currently sharing space with the fire department. The AFD is working on transitioning completely into its location at the newly built Auburn Public Safety Building on 31 Seminary St. At a ribbon-cutting for the new building last week, Auburn Fire Chief Mark Fritz said he hoped the fire department will be fully moved into the new location by the end of this week, but it could be the following week or the week after that.
Sullivan said the Market Street location is “a nice building” and is meeting the service’s needs, and she added that the fire department “has been exceptionally professional and supportive. We appreciate them letting us share their station.”
The service met the Nov. 1 deadline, but Sullivan noted “it’s important to remember that this is not the finish line. This is actually just the start of building this ambulance service.”
She said the city operation is going to continue improving.
“We’re not sitting back now that we’ve met the deadline and relaxing,” Sullivan said. “We’re going to continue working hard to make the service as good as possible.”
The new system was approved by the city council in June. Sullivan said in October the service was fully staffed ahead of the start date.
Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.
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