Some People Waiting Too Long for an Ambulance in St. Lawrence CountyPosted: Updated:
Everybody wants the ambulance there fast when they have an auto accident or other emergency. However, that doesn't always happen in St. Lawrence County. A shortage of volunteers and fewer ambulance services mean longer waits.
“Patients with life-threatening emergencies are the ones we want to make sure that responses are immediate for,” said Ann Smith, North Country EMS regional director.
On average, ambulances arrive at homes 17 minutes after 911 is called. But there are waits as long as 30 or 40 minutes. St. Lawrence County's sheer size adds to the problem.
It seems bigger places like Massena, Potsdam and Ogdensburg will always have ambulance service. But those services have disappeared in many smaller communities. And that has only increased the burden on those left, like Tri-Town Rescue in Brasher Falls.
"I think the whole system has to be revised," said June Wood, a critical care tech with Tri-Town Rescue. "I don't see the smaller squads being able to come back.
It's not just a problem in St. Lawrence County. A record number of ambulances services closed in the state last year. Edwards' ambulance locally was one. Smith and others are encouraging county legislators to take a hard look at the problem.
“When the legislators get together we hope they can help us to bring the right stakeholders together,” Smith said.
That meeting is suppose to happen on Tuesday. So far, county legislators say their aim is come up with priorities for state legislation to help with the problem.