By Ben Kinne, Special to The Chronicle
Stronger Together. That is the motto being used by North Queensbury Rescue Squad and Bay Ridge Rescue Squad as they begin the process of consolidating from two separate agencies into one.
The two-step process has already begun, with the agencies agreeing to share paid staff and management teams, which started on June 1st..
Final consolidation and operation change to one agency is expected to be completed by January 1, 2023.
Conni Tucker, a spokesperson for the consolidation committee, told The Chronicle. “To consolidate both agencies will help fiscally and ensure that this end of the town is covered. Additionally, we will be able to buy our supplies in larger quantities, meaning there will be less of a cost over time”..
She said the number of volunteers at the North Queensbury Squad has declined in the past few years, sometimes creating gaps in EMS coverage and causing the squad to rely on Bay Ridge to cover some of their calls..
“The folks in the north end haven’t been fully covered in a long time because of the lack of volunteers. The few folks that are up there are very dedicated, however,” Tucker said..
A 2019 study of EMS services in the Town showed that North Queensbury EMS had only eight total volunteer members, compared to 50 volunteer members at Bay Ridge EMS..
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, North Queensbury has a full-time paramedic from an outsourced hiring agency on duty 24/7 and a paid EMT-Driver only 12 hours a day, with the remaining 12 hours being covered by volunteers..
One of the first tasks as part of the merger was to form a consolidation committee of six members, three from each agency..
The committee members from North Queensbury are Todd Mahoney, John Hodgkins and Lisa Munzenmaier..
Committee members from Bay Ridge are Conni Tucker, Kim Thom and Shane Irwin..
Tucker says the committee is working well together with a primary purpose: meeting the emergency medical needs of the residents of the Town. “The residents of Queensbury want good medical services, we want to make sure they are getting that in return,” she said..
While the process of consolidating the agencies may seem like a simple task, Tucker explained that it’s quite the opposite, which is the only downside of the merger..
“There’s a lot of paperwork that needs to be done for the Department of State and the Health Department, there’s a whole laundry list of things that need to be done and we’re kind of chipping away at things one at a time,” she said..
Once the merger is complete, the agency will operate under a new name; “Queensbury EMS.” The committee felt it made the most sense since it’s the simplest. “Nothing sounded as good as Queensbury EMS,” Tucker explained..
She says the Stronger Together mantra has already proven true, even in the early stages of the consolidation..
“We have a wonderful committee,” Tucker remarked. “This is something we’ve all recognized needed to be done, so we are all going to try to get it taken care of and do what’s in the best interest of the Town of Queensbury.”.
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