Photos by Steven Kroll
BETHLEHEM — Delmar-Bethlehem EMS received two awards, one state and one regional, in October.
Steven Kroll, Delmar-Bethlehem EMS’ chief and executive director, said it was awarded the 2018 Hudson-Mohawk Region EMS Agency of the Year on Oct. 9 and the 2019 New York State EMS Agency Innovation Award for Organizational Change on Oct. 27. “We’re very proud and happy about that because there are lots of people and EMS agencies that are very successful which have applied for both of these awards, and yet we were selected,” he said. “It’s humbling because some of the agencies that we got these awards over are people I’ve looked up to as leaders and innovators for years. The awards don’t just represent our agency, they represent the whole profession.”
The former award was chosen by the Hudson-Mohawk Region EMS Council which annually recognizes one agency in a six-county region for its success; Delmar-Bethlehem EMS previously won this in 2012. The latter award was among those chosen by the state EMS Council.
When asked why he believed the Delmar-Bethlehem EMS deserved the awards, Kroll offered three main examples.
First, he said it has been successful in recruiting and retaining both volunteers and paid EMS responders; it has 75 volunteers now which is considered a high number. He added that while the EMS’ partnership with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office helps provide paid staff while most volunteers are out on work, not all volunteers are necessarily from the town of Bethlehem. “It doesn’t matter if the person who comes to your house is paid or whether they’re a volunteer,” he said. “You don’t necessarily even know. They’re all trained under the same professional standard so there’s no distinguishing between them. It’s a standard that will provide optimal care to our community and that’s an important part of what we’ve done.”
Second, the agency’s ambulances and equipment are regularly cleaned, according to Kroll, so that they are “optimally prepared” for emergencies. He brought up that bacteria and pathogens may grow in hospitals, ambulances and doctors’ offices, and the Delmar-Bethlehem EMS always empties out and thoroughly scrubs its ambulances. He added that the agency has been using a new device that sterilizes the ambulances, which especially gets to the potential bacteria growing in its deep corners, and uses ozone to emit a gas to kill all the pathogens inside.
Third, he said, “We have such great support in our community where people contribute to our annual fund drive which helps us have the money to do things like above. We also have the support of government, like the town board, the town supervisor and county legislators, who’ve rallied around us and helped us do things like building our new building. They do that because they believe in what we do.”
Kroll said the two awards were “a testament to the incredible people that make up this agency, like the board of directors, volunteers, paid staff and people in the community.”
He concluded that residents in Bethlehem can continue to expect top-notch services and exceptional professionals to address their needs. “I guess this is the first time we’ve received recognition at this magnitude and the people in town should be proud of it and know we’ll be there if they need us,” he said.
For more information, visit delmarems.org.