Niagara Gazette

Local News

October 14, 2013

Volunteer fire company grappling with EMT shortage

Niagara Gazette — Declining enrollment of volunteer EMTs has caused South Lockport Volunteer Fire Co. to take a in-depth look at its emergency medical service.

In a statement released Monday, South Lockport President Peter Smith said the company is reviewing its' long-term plans for EMS. The company is experiencing a shortage of emergency medical technicians, as well as increased regulatory and training requirements for volunteers.

Having EMS is time-intensive and expensive to operate, but the Town of Lockport will still receive emergency services from the South Lockport company, Smith said.

"The public should know that providing quality emergency service is the highest priority for South Lockport and we will continue to adhere to the quality and standards you have always expected and received," he said in the statement. "We will continue to respond to all emergency calls within our response area in the Town of Lockport."

But other organizations may be assisting South Lockport in those responses, Smith added.

Discussions have taken place between South Lockport, town and Niagara County Emergency Services officials concerning the possible change in EMS, Peter Smith said. Lockport Town Supervisor Marc R. Smith confirmed he and some town board members have met with officers of all five fire companies that service a portion of the town. In addition to South Lockport, those companies are the Wrights Corners, Terry's Corners, Rapids and Gasport volunteer outfits.

If South Lockport no longer offers EMS, the town could have the other four companies increase their coverage or possibly bring in a third-party EMS provider.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.

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