Letter: Bethlehem well served by ambulance

Editor, The Spotlight:

With regard to your recent article, “Town Talks About Emergency Services” (January 25, 2012), some clarification is in order.

First, the statement that out of the town’s four emergency medical service providers, only two of them (Albany County Sheriff’s Office and Delmar Volunteer Ambulance) provide advanced services with trained paramedics is incorrect. In actuality, Delmar Ambulance is staffed 24/7 by one paramedic (Medic 2) that is employed by Albany County Sheriff’s Office; this is precisely the same arrangement found with Bethlehem Volunteer Ambulance, who is also staffed 24/7 by an Albany County paramedic (Medic 3). This arrangement between BVAS and Albany County has been in place for almost two decades, and during this time, every single call to which Bethlehem Ambulance has been dispatched has been attended to by a paramedic.

Second, the assertion that the areas surrounding Delmar seem to be receiving a lesser quality of care from their respective ambulance agencies is not supported by facts. We are unaware of any data currently being reviewed that reveal a comparatively substandard level of patient care from BVAS or any other ambulance agency. The volunteers at Bethlehem Ambulance are no less trained, no less competent, and no less dedicated than the volunteers of any other agency. No matter what time, no matter what the weather conditions, emergency calls in our district are responded to in a timely fashion, are not “rolled over” to other agencies, and every single patient is given the same quality of care as is found elsewhere in the county, with a paramedic, at least one EMT, and a modern, state-of-the-art ambulance.

Since 1955, the volunteers at Bethlehem Volunteer Ambulance Service have dedicated large portions of their lives to serving their community. No matter what, no matter when, our citizen EMT’s answer the call, leaving the comfort of their homes to travel through cold, through rain, through blizzards. They’ve put themselves in harm’s way on countless occasions for their neighbors, coming face-to-face with death, some of the worst traumas imaginable, contagious illnesses, and everything in between. They deserve no less than the highest praise.

Bethlehem Volunteer Ambulance Board of Directors.

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