POLAND, N.Y.-Kuyahoora Volunteer Ambulance held a public meeting Thursday night to discuss the future of the Ambulance Corps.
The Poland Firehouse on Route 8 hosted the meeting.
Kuyahoora Volunteer Ambulance Corps. (KVAC) is requesting financial assistance from the towns it covers to continue Ambulance services.
It costs roughly $161,560 per year to operate the ambulance, and has been in business for nearly 45 years.
The towns Kuyahoora Ambulance cover include Deerfield, Fairfield, Newport, Norway, Ohio, and Russia.
The Ambulance Corps is not only seeking financial aid from the towns. They are also seeking volunteers as the lack of volunteers is a factor. Kuyahoora has seen a decline in volunteers from 2006-2018.
The lack of volunteers is not just locally, it’s nationwide at ambulance agencies and fire departments.
Marcy Foster, a resident from the Town of Ohio recently had a medical emergency this past June. She tells News Channel 2 she had to wait an hour and a half for a Kunkle Ambulance to respond from Utica, when Kuyahoora didn’t have a staff available at the time.
“I called for an ambulance, 911 was called by my boyfriend. And nobody was available locally here. I had to wait over an hour for a Utica ambulance (Kunkle) to come in and I was in agony obviously and little did I know I was internally bleeding." Foster said.
Foster says that if Kuyahoora had a crew available, she could have been taken care of ten times faster. She is encouraging those interested in volunteering to sign up.
Jack Hasse, the chief of Kuyahoora Ambulance says the Ambulance Corps has exhausted options to merge with other Ambulance agencies, and hopes the towns they cover can step in to keep them alive.
"We have our regular fundraising activities. We get donations and stuff from people, memorials”. Hasse said.
“But we have gotten to the point now where there is no other source of money. We're going to the towns and asking them to put it in their budgets so that they can continue to support us. It will be tax based and the numbers that we are getting back from the county tax office is showing that the majority of the households it is going to be like a dollar a day or a dollar a week excuse me to keep the ambulance and building." Hasse added.
If you are interested in volunteering, Hasse says the process to sign up is simple.
“We have a one-page application, you fill that out and give it back to us. We check your references and then the membership votes on it. It takes about six weeks from when you put your application in until you are all cleared and ready to go. It’s just a matter of being trained.”
Unless financial aid is found from the towns and villages, Kuyahoora Ambulance might not be able to operate by Mid-2020. Foster hopes Kuyahoora Ambulance can stay open.