Ambulance squads need PPE, but can’t fundraise to buy it

WWNY Ambulance squads need PPE, but can’t fundraise to buy it

PARISHVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - Science says masks protect you from getting COVID, but ambulance squads are running out of masks and money to buy more. In a pandemic, it’s almost impossible to fundraise.

Suiting up when going on a rescue call for any patient showing signs of COVID-19 can be a pain when you really want to get out the door.

“Critical cases, you really want to get there as fast as possible. But you need to make sure that you are - for the safety of the patient and for the whole crew – you got to suit up and do everything you need to do before you even leave,” said

Eric Alan, Parishville Rescue volunteer EMT.

But it’s a pain in another way as well. How to pay for all that personal protective equipment? A plain old N-95 mask used to be about $1. Now a single one can cost $6 or more. Much of it is one-use.

“There’s not much money in EMS and a lot of the departments’ budgets are fairly small,” said Matthew Denner, St. Lawrence County Emergency Services director.

Another problem: personal protective equipment is still hard to find. With COVID-19 cases again surging, so is demand.

Volunteer fire departments have taken a hit in another way. The pandemic has made fundraising much more difficult.

There are about half a dozen smaller volunteer rescue services in the county that can’t bill insurance for rides. Parishville is one. They have enough PPE and funds to pay for it, for now.

“I’m not saying that down the road that we will not have to ask for help,” said Ed Cool, Parishville Volunteer Fire Department chief.

It’s possible the state may have to restart deliveries. Denner says he won’t hesitate to ask for help if it’s needed.

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