Rotterdam EMS details future plans

"We're polling our staff to find what people that will want to work a 12-hour day on Saturday and Sunday because we want to work 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday because those are critical hours," said Vanderworker.

He said they miss a lot of calls during these times because they don't have enough coverage. When REMS can't answer a call, it goes to the next service on a list that includes, in order of priority, Western Turnpike, Altamont Rescue, Greater Amsterdam Volunteer Ambulance Incorporated and Mohawk Ambulance.

"I don't know if it's [extended hours] going to start this week or not, but it probably will start next week," said Vanderworker.

Eventually, he said, he would like to have one ambulance running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with an additional ambulance on for 12-hour shifts during the weekends.

Rotterdam Ambulance merged with White Eagle five years ago to form Rotterdam EMS, which caused some hiccups in how the organization was run.

"There were a lot of things that got dropped; one of the biggest things was the federal 501c for not for profit organizations," said Vanderworker, who said federal authorization as a not for profit is required before an organization can apply for grants, many of which provide critical materials, such as new ambulances.

"We wanted to file for a couple of grants; ambulance replacements, oxygen generators so we can make our own oxygen, and I can't file for any of those grants yet until the 501c is filed," said Vanderworker.

Plans to file are in the works, said Vanderworker, and things should be completed in two to three weeks.

"Another thing that fell through the cracks was that we never got our New York State tax exemption status," said Vanderworker.

He said that those are the things that "are hurting us along the way."

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