"A lot of things are in the air,” said Westerlo’s acting supervisor of ambulance coverage.

Brian Wood

“We see deaths and dying and abuse, day in and day out,” said Brian Wood of emergency medical workers.

Fifteen members serve on the Westerlo Rescue Squad, a mere 0.4 percent of the town’s population of about 3,400. The average age of the members is 60. Both factors have led to the decision for the volunteer ambulance to close at the end of the year.

GUILDERLAND — Without ever broaching the subject at a previous meeting, the town board voted unanimously on June 5 to establish its own ambulance service, buy a used bariatric ambulance for $52,000, authorize the supervisor to enter a shared-services agreement for the county to use the ambulance, and hire enough emergency medical techn

As for independent services within the town of Guilderland, Western Turnpike has become a fully paid service and Altamont Rescue has “a few volunteers,” the town's medical director said.

Following the closure of Rensselaerville Volunteer Ambulance, the Albany County Sheriff’s Office has had to offer an ambulance with an emergency medical provider as well as a paramedic in a fly car. This has led to an increase in the costs for the three Hilltowns served: Berne, Westerlo, and Rensselaerville.

A special Rensselaerville Town Board meeting to discuss the closure of the town’s volunteer ambulance was met with a solemn acknowledgement of the end of the 45-year-old organization.

With 10 to 12 members, many retired and in their 60s, Rensselaerville Volunteer Ambulance announced that it would be closing, with the Albany County Sheriff’s Emergency Medical Services unit taking over calls in town.

With Voorheesville Area Ambulance Service seeking to merge with Delmar-Bethlehem EMS or face dissolution, a question still remains on what will happen to its former headquarters.

A lack of volunteers had led Voorheesville's ambulance to announce its closure, but members continue to respond as a secondary service, and the organization is seeking a way to keep running.


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