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A week to appreciate unsung heroes

There has also been new on-the-job training, led by medical director Dr. Michael Dailey. Berry said it will focus on key data, focusing on where fainting episodes occur, since they get a lot of those calls. Doing this while on duty helps save money and improve training and patient care, Berry said.

"We've got more units on the road today then we have previously, and we're able to do that at the same cost," he said. "All we did was split a unit up so we could improve response times."

Berry said that when the department gets a call, it does a "medical triage" by using a software system called Medical Priority Dispatch. The system is able to say what unit to send and how the unit should respond.

By changing the way the crews receive the information, Berry said, the department has cut its response time by nearly a minute. Even with driving at high speeds and lights flashing, Berry said workers can't make up the time spent disseminating the information.

Dailey said he is impressed by what the department has been able to do in terms of saving the town money and reaching its own goals. He also cited the collaborative effort among the police department and some of the volunteer fire departments in the town.

"I think the foresight of the management team and the ability to drive their department towards success is great," he said. "They have quality personnel that are well-trained and well-equipped."

Dailey sits on a state EMS committee and said that while he is talking about the best practices the Colonie EMS performs, he is able to learn what other organizations are doing, allowing Colonie EMS to improve on that.

"I'm really, really proud of our guys," he said. "They do a spectacular job every day. They do a good job on the little cases and the big ones."

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