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Town of Guilderland receives $50,000 state grant to outfit new ambulance

The town of Guilderland is getting a $50,000 state grant to outfit a new ambulance.

In Guilderland Wednesday, town EMS director Jay Tyler says the money, which will go toward a power stretcher, power load system, and part of a stair chair, will enable the town to improve its responses.

“We have recently taken on more responsibility in the west end of the town. We have six ambulances and we respond to about 7,000 calls a year. So that's a lot of patients that we lift; back injuries being one of the biggest issues for EMS providers. So we were able to with the budget as tight as it is we were able to purchase the ambulance but we weren't able to put anything inside of it,” Tyler said.

New York state Assemblyman Phil Steck, a Democrat from the 110th District, says this builds on previous efforts in the area.

“Instead of debating issues like how to deal with migrants or asylum seekers or things of that nature, but we've been very supportive of the town of Colonie EMS, we've bought them a new ambulance among other things in the past,” Steck said.

Tyler says the new equipment will protect emergency responders.

“We can lift up to 800 pounds with a press of a button. And you just get to the power stretcher, power load here. Again, it automatically lifts the patient brings it up,” Tyler said.

The “patient” in this case was, well, me.

Tyler says the grant helps with the cost of an ambulance:

“You know, you buy the ambulance. And then you have to get it lettered and you have to get the lights and sirens on it. And the power load, and then the stretcher. And then you have to have the medications and all the supplies, monitors, EKG monitors and all the IT equipment to transmit EKG to the hospital. You know, basic life support equipment, radios, very, very, very expensive,” Tyler said.

-which comes out to: “about $250,000, and then another $70,000 to upfit it and get it running in compliance with public health law,” Tyler said.

There are different kinds of ambulances. Tyler says this one is like a little emergency room in the back:

“-with the EKG and the medications and the seats and the straps, the radio communication devices that we can use, we're really, really moving ahead in EMS, where we can detect heart attacks in the field, and we can transmit the EKG to the hospital. So the doctor can look at the EKG and get the cath lab ready to go. Sometimes we just bypass the emergency department go straight up to the cath lab,” Tyler said.

EMS Operations Director Sean McGaughnea says lifting a stretcher without the lift is a challenge.


“Putting the patient on the stretcher, picking the stretcher up, loading it into the ambulance, picking it up again, that's one move. When you get to the hospital, then you're doing the same thing. And it actually reduces that every time. So it's less strain on their back, it makes their job a little easier for them. And for us, like that's been a huge benefit,” McGaughnea said.

That’s especially important, McGaughnea says, as back injuries tend to cut EMS careers short.

Guilderland’s department is made up of 43 paramedics, EMTs, and command staff.

A 2022 Siena College graduate, Alexander began his journalism career as a sports writer for Siena College's student paper The Promethean, and as a host for Siena's school radio station, WVCR-FM "The Saint." A Cubs fan, Alexander hosts the morning Sports Report in addition to producing Morning Edition. You can hear the sports reports over-the-air at 6:19 and 7:19 AM, and online on WAMC.org. He also speaks Spanish as a second language. To reach him, email ababbie@wamc.org, or call (518)-465-5233 x 190. You can also find him on Twitter/X: @ABabbieWAMC.