Paramedics seek body armor

Members of Ballston Spa ambulance squad: ‘These are different times’

— Ott said he has sent letters to Rep. Paul Tonko, Senator Hugh Farley, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and other politicians. In addition, Ott said he has talked with Saratoga County District County Attorney James Murphy and Saratoga County Sheriff James Bowen.

“The problem is that EMS first responders are the redheaded stepchild,” said Ott. “The money is harder to come by.

Ballston Spa Police Chief Charles Koenig is in favor of the EMS wearing body armor.

“Any first responder in this day and age that has proper protection is a good thing,” said Koenig.

The body armor the company is seeking would protect the core of the body and most of the sides from most common bullets. There is also a knife shield, which Ott is especially concerned about because of a recent incident in which a mental health patient was being transferred to the hospital and a knife was discovered on their person.

Ott said he is not giving up to get financing.

“The crew wants them so bad they’re trying to work it out so they take their $100 uniform allowance and finance the rest through us,” he said.

Ballston Spa’s Community Emergency Corps operates on paid labor. For company member Tanya Rook, the issue of body armor comes out to much more than dollars and cents.

“We never know what situation we will run into,” she said. “I want to go home to my family. I don’t want to be one of those statistics.”

Corps lobbies for support program

Ott is also concerned about the absence of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in Saratoga County that would cover treatment for ailments or afflictions resulting from the stressors of an emergency service job. Ott feels this is important for the same reasons for having body armor.

“We used to have county crisis intervention,” he said. “I was told it no longer exists.”

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