ROTTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Rural ambulance services face a decline in revenue and those interested in volunteering. Call times for those rural services can be much longer than in more densely populated areas, leading to a longer wait time when seconds matter.

“There’s a trend throughout the state where ambulance services are closing or not being able to staff themselves with volunteers or paid staff at this point. So there are a lot of different challenges and reasons why that is happening and we’re going to look at those reasons and look up some solutions.” 

Dean Romano is the director of Rotterdam EMS. On Tuesday, he was appointed to the Rural Ambulance Task Force by Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D, 111th) who also secured $1 million in state funding for the EMS service. The money will go towards replacing an aging fleet and upgrading the station. Something some ambulance services across the state are also struggling with.

“That task force is a critical step because it is going to allow us to find those long-term solutions,” Assemblyman Santabarbara says at a press conference outside Rotterdam EMS. “They will talk to people who work in EMS that run the ambulances and what the challenges are so they can give recommendations to the legislature on how we can support them and how we can stabilize this life-saving service.” 

Romano believes to ensure the viability and longevity of ambulance services, especially in rural areas, funding like the money secured by the assemblyman is crucial. “EMS has never really been considered an essential service. They just considered it an essential service but that didn’t come along with any funding. Really, you just have to follow the money.”