Randolph Regional EMS Corp. Reflects On Fifth Anniversary
RANDOLPH — January marks the five-year anniversary of the Randolph Regional Emergency Medical Services Corporation (RREMS). The agency has accomplished a lot during those years and continues to grow.
Most recently, the agency has added a fly car to its ambulance fleet to cut emergency response times. The 2017 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor utility vehicle was put into service Jan. 17.
Dave Senn, president of RREMS, explained the advantages of having a fly car in the EMS fleet with the two current ambulances. He said when a call comes in, the fly car will enable paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMT) to go to the scene and start medical care right away, rather than wait for an ambulance.
“The medical personnel can triage to determine what needs to be done. A lot of times people don’t need to be transported,” he said. “If the person does need to be transported to the hospital, the EMS personnel have already started care and treatment before the ambulance arrives.”
According to Senn, the fly car is particularly ideal in a cardiac arrest situation because one person alone can start doing high-quality resuscitation using AutoPulse, an automated chest compressor, until help arrives. He said RREMS is the only predominantly volunteer EMS in the area with an AutoPulse device.
Senn said, as it’s set up, the fly car costs $45,000 and is much more economical to run than an ambulance that costs $180,000. He said another advantage is a fly car will help keep the ambulance in town, so it will be more available.
RREMS started Jan. 1, 2013 with 21 members including four Advanced Life Support (ALS) personnel and 11 EMTs. Since then, the not-for-profit organization has grown to 41 members that include 11 paramedics and 15 EMTs.
According to Senn, two paid, part-time staff members will soon be on duty 20-hours a week and cover opposite days at the base that is currently located at the Randolph Fire Department. Seth Lecceadone of Randolph joined the staff in September as operations manager. In February, Matt Elderkin of Frewsburg will become assistant operations manager and training officer.
“We’re going to have paid staff at the base from about 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. because that’s when we have our highest volume of calls and it’s the hardest time to field a volunteer crew,” he said.
Senn said when the corporation was developed, the five-year plan was to try and incorporate surrounding EMS services to consolidate personnel and utilize equipment, but to also pool resources. The EMS members were relying on mutual aid for additional calls, but mutual aid is seldom available because there are no volunteers.
According to Senn, Coldspring EMS approached RREMS to assume their operations because they had only one EMT and two drivers. He said Randolph assumed them and they’re working on paying Coldspring’s tax base back for their equipment.
“When we merged with Coldspring, we also bought their ambulance that remains housed at their fire department, which puts a second ambulance that we need in our fleet,” he said.
Senn said RREMS currently leases a bay at both the Randolph and Coldspring facilities. That way, they are putting money back into the fire departments. He said RREMS has paid $75,000 back to the Randolph Fire District for the ambulance and equipment since they started.
The goal of RREMS is to improve emergency medical services in the area using income from billing for services. Senn emphasized there is no taxpayer money going into the Randolph EMS organization. He said the only thing they get is federal grant money.
According to Senn, RREMS received a $65,239 federal grant and a donation from an estate last April enabling the agency to purchase much-needed equipment, as well as critical safety and operations supplies. He said the funds were used to purchase a power loader, portable radios to support the new emergency radio system in Cattaraugus County and an AutoPulse.
RREMS has also established a Junior EMS Program to give high school students an opportunity to get contact hours and experience toward entering a college-level medical program.
Senn said future plans include a new building located on property already purchased in East Randolph, along Route 394. He said the building will have living quarters including four, dorm-style rooms for a bunk-in program, as well as a room for training and a three-bay garage.
RREMS covers 180-square miles and provides ALS emergency care for Randolph and Coldspring, parts of the towns of Red House, Conewango and Napoli, as well as the Quaker area of Allegany State Park. Referring to the volunteer coverage area, Senn said RREMS probably has the largest response area seen.