Thursday, October 13, 2016

Wellsville Ambulance/Rescue: "We're OK with Scio decision

The Scio Town Board Wednesday night voted to renew the annual contract with Wellsville Ambulance. However, the contract deleted rescue services, instead shifting that responsibility to Scio Fire. "We're okay with that decision," said Wellsville Ambulance (WVAC) Assistant Chief and media spokesperson Erik Potter. He said his agency was aware of the potential change and acknowledged that Scio Fire has the equipment and professionally trained personnel to handle those emergency situations. Potter said the change will have a financial impact on the WVAC. "Any time you lose a revenue source, it stings," Potter said. He added, "but we'll always be ready to support Scio Fire and the town in any we can...with personnel, equipment...whatever the town needs."
He added that...moving forward, the two agencies should strive to have joint training and create a "better working relationship."
Even though the Scio Board considered dropping the Wellsville Ambulance contract entirely, Potter said the agency would continue to maintain three ambulances. In the early years, the WVAC maintained four ambulances.
Potter was candid...he said "there's been tension" with Scio over the years but added, "they've put the hours in." Potter was critical of some social media comments regarding the working relationship between the two agencies. "It  (the comments) has to stop," he said. "We're all first responders...we all work together...we're an extended family," Potter said.
The Scio Town Board had considered moving the contract to Amity Rescue. Some suggested last night that the option remains viable and remains on the table for next year.
Several years ago, the Wellsville Volunteer Ambulance Corps merged with the (former) Allegany County Office of Emergency Services Rescue Squad, based in Wellsville. Since that merger, several area fire departments have purchased equipment and invested in vehicle extrication training and other aspects, which lessened the need for Wellsville rescue services. However, Wellsville does provide some specialized equipment and training, to include GPS tracking for search and rescue and confined space rescue teams.
Potter said "we're here to help...ready to respond."