FULTON CO., N.Y. (News10)-Police and first responders have been staying very busy this 4th of July holiday weekend responding to emergency 911 calls. In the Capital Region’s Fulton County, they would have run out of ambulances had it not been for a recently implemented sharing system.

On Sunday night around 9:30pm ambulance crews responded to an address near the Broadalbin Boat Launch on the Great Sacandaga after 911 dispatch operators received a call that fireworks had gone off in a 24-year-old woman’s hand.

A photo courtesy of Fulton County Area News shows the ambulance pulling up to a waiting med-flight. But that 911 call was just one of many due to accidents and crashes over the holiday weekend says Fulton County Sheriff Rich Giardino, “We had a serious accident Friday night going into Saturday where a car crossed over the center line. [It] hit a vehicle with 4 people in it and someone suffered a fractured neck.”

He says all shifts were full with officers patrolling roadways and area waterways during the entire July 4th holiday weekend. To ensure his officers were able to handle the heavy load of calls, Giardino sent out a message to residents asking for all 911 calls to be limited to true emergencies. “If we’ve got a serious accident or domestic violence, I can’t pull somebody because, you know, there’s loud music next door,” he added.

Fulton County has a population of about 53-thousand people, but tourism makes those numbers swell during peak summer boating and winter snowmobiling months. But more people coming to the area does not mean that they have more EMTs to handle emergency calls says Mark Souza, EMS Coordinator for Fulton County. “It’s hard to get EMS personnel so they are getting less and less. But we have to do more and more.”

Souza told News 10’s Anya Tucker that the county has contracts with 3 ambulance companies. He says with this weekend being so busy, one of them ran out of available units. But he says thanks to something called a Certificate Of Need, he was able to ask the 2 other ambulance services to drive outside of their jurisdictions and wait on standby for any emergency calls. 

It’s a recently new agreement and he says it came in very handy this weekend. “Yes. You know, the county doing this helps the county EMS system as a whole.”