Stec and Little Announce Bill to Support First Responders
Assemblyman Dan Stec (R,C,I-Queensbury) and Sen. Betty Little (R,C,I-Queensbury) held a press conference today to announce a bill that will allow any county, city, town or village to establish a special district for the financing and operation of general ambulance services (A.9589). The bill would also require a report by the Commissioner of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to identify challenges facing volunteer emergency services or personnel.
“The services provided by volunteer firefighters and EMS are crucial to protecting our communities, not only here in the 114th district, but all across New York state,” said Stec. “With resources to support these brave men and women at a premium, this legislation represents a major step forward in ensuring these dedicated first responders will have the support they need to keep our families safe. Many rural communities have experienced increased difficulties and delays in receiving critical ambulance services. This bill would provide local governments the flexibility they need to meet today’s demand for reliable service.”
“It shouldn’t take longer to get an ambulance than home delivery for a pizza, but sadly that is the case in rural communities where the average wait for EMS is about a half hour,” said Little. “Our EMS personnel do a tremendous job. These are wonderful people, incredibly dedicated, and they know better than most that minutes, even seconds, mean the difference between life and death. Unfortunately, they are short-staffed and lacking financial resources. More needs to be done to help them. This crisis will continue to grow in rural communities unless we try a different approach. That’s what this legislation would enable and I’m hopeful we can build support for it this legislative session.”
“Ensuring our residents have access to life-saving emergency response is critical, and this legislation provides new opportunities for local governments to better serve their residents with emergency first response ambulance services. I commend Sen. Little and Assemblyman Stec for co-sponsoring this legislation to assist their communities. NYSAC is in full support of this legislation as a way to improve emergency services and ensure that our residents get the protections they need in all communities across the state,” said Stephen J. Acquario, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC).
“We are extremely pleased to have Assemblyman Stec’s and Sen. Little’s support and sponsorship of his bill, it will be an invaluable tool for counties to ensure the delivery of effective, affordable and prompt emergency medical services. We are on the verge of a looming crisis in emergency medical services in rural New York, this bill empowers us to deal directly and effectively with that crisis,” said Shaun Gillilland, Vice-Chairman, Essex County Board of Supervisors.