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A week to appreciate unsung heroes

The success of the Colonie EMS Department is not just the work of the department itself, Deputy Chief Peter Berry said, because a lot of the credit is due to a collaborative effort within the town.

It's really not the EMS' success in being nationally recognized, it's the town, he said. "And that's something that is very important everybody understands. The town works as a team. And if it wasn't for all those important players, we wouldn't be able to do it."

It was National EMS Appreciation Week last week, and the Colonie EMS Department has plenty of honors to point to. It has won awards regionally, nationally and internationally and has made great strides in reducing response time. But Berry made sure to mention the role other areas of town government, such as general services, the town attorney and the comptroller's office, have played in helping EMS acquire the technology to be great.

"Without [Supervisor Paula Mahan's] leadership and support, from a funding perspective, to do the things we do and get the things we need to get done," Berry said. "We went for a federal grant to improve and replace heart monitor technology. There's a matching component to that, which the town has to commit to. That's 20 percent."

Despite the week of recognition, Berry said the EMTs don't really see themselves as heroes. They enjoy their jobs, Berry said, and they don't expect the recognition.

"They do this to help people," he said. "They're not into it for the glory or the awards."

There have been a lot of changes made in the department that has led to its success. Berry said one of the things the department began doing this year was positioning vehicles in strategic locations around the town that are identified as hot spots. This helps in reducing the response time for some of these vehicles, as well as improving patient outcomes.

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