BRONXVILLE, NY — July 1, 2021 — I happened to be walking down Pondfield Road recently and saw our local ambulance service helping someone who needed assistance from a doctor’s office at 77 Pondfield Road. The situation caused me to stop and think who actually services those ambulances and how does the system operate. I must say in my 30+ years as a resident, I think I just took it for granted that somehow whoever these folks were would arrive at my doorstep when needed. So I did a little homework.
We have this unique ambulance service because in 1949 a suggestion was made by members of the North End Hose Company, a division of the Eastchester Fire Department, to establish a volunteer ambulance service. Three years later, it came to fruition.
Shortly after its incorporation in February 1952, the membership voted to purchase their first Miller Cadillac ambulance. Many residents of the community along with the Board of Fire Commissioners, Lawrence Hospital, the Eastchester Town Council, the Eastchester Chamber of Commerce and many other smaller local organizations supported the establishment of the Eastchester Volunteer Ambulance Corps so named EVAC.
During EVAC’s first year of operation in 1952, members responded to 90 calls. As the years progressed and the EVAC volunteer roster thankfully increased, it became evident that EVAC could no longer operate out of the North End Fire House.
In 1984, EVAC launched a massive campaign to support the construction of a new building and in December 1986 broke ground on their new headquarters which opened four years later.
Very quickly, EVAC earned the distinction of being a New York State Department of Health ambulance service. This award affirmed EVAC’s commitment to the rigorous training standards set by the state for certified responders and emergency medical technicians.
In mid-1995, EVAC implemented its Advanced Life Support program which provides around the clock staffed paramedics responsible for responding to all calls and triaging patients to determine the appropriate treatment needed.
The program was further complemented by the addition of a rapid response vehicle known as a fly car.
Beginning in 1999, the Community Fund of Bronxville Eastchester and Tuckahoe committed their financial support allowing EVAC to purchase a new ambulance every three years.
EVAC still relies on the incredible generosity of the Community Fund and the support of private donations and insurance revenue recovery efforts.
Contrary to what most people logically think, unlike the police departments and the fire departments of our three communities, there is no municipal budget line to fund EVAC save for the $15,000 that the Eastchester Town budget allocates for the yearly utilities on the headquarters.
EVAC relies solely on volunteer donations and insurance billing – which on average covers only 58% of the actual cost of services so private donations are critical.
Due to population increases, EVAC is on pace to respond to 3000 calls for service in 2021. The call volume expands quite dramatically year after year. As a result, EVAC now needs a second paramedic during the day to ensure they are able to respond to all emergencies in a timely manner which now averages four minutes from call to assistance which is almost unheard of.
To illustrate the need, the following are real life examples of the value of trained paramedics.
On two separate recent occasions, the EVAC paramedics responded to area country clubs for patrons in full cardiac arrest, one on a golf course and one poolside. Both patients were pulseless when 911 was called. Thanks to the amazing work done by paramedics, EVAC was able to respond quickly and establish lifesaving care.
On January 10th of 2020, only one day after the second paramedic was put into service, EVAC responded to a call in the Village for possible cardiac arrest of a gentlemen collapsed in a roadway. Upon arrival of EVAC paramedics, it was determined that the gentleman was in full cardiac arrest. Immediately, the lifepack 15 cardiac monitor was utilized to shock the patient’s heart. Since two paramedics were on scene treating the patient, multiple IVs were established and lifesaving cardiac medications were given to the patient within minutes of initial patient contact. Thanks to the quick actions and increased emergency medical care that can be provided by two paramedics, EVAC personnel were able to bring pulses back to the patient and restore life. The two paramedics and first responders involved in this potentially tragic call were able to shake the hand of the patient a mere month later at a Village Hall ceremony.
What used to be considered miracles is quickly becoming normal practice at EVAC thanks to our increased levels of ALS care. When additional calls in district take place, our fantastic paramedics split and utilize their skills on separate emergencies.
Over 130 town and village residents volunteer their time but a second paramedic on all shifts is needed to ensure the high quality of service. This additional medical need has a cost of $110,000 yearly.
To continue the incredible level of service both in medical expertise and response time, EVAC could use your help this year more than ever. Should you want to make a donation, checks can be made out to Eastchester Volunteer Ambulance Corps Inc. and sent to 257 Main St., Eastchester NY 10709. Without exaggeration, any help can really make a difference in the life of some of your neighbors or perhaps even yourselves.
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Mary C. Marvin is the mayor of the Village of Bronxville, New York. Share your thoughts by directing email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE: Mary Ann Maglioto | Assistant to the Mayor & Village Administrator | Bronxville Village Hall