Back in their building and bolstered now by a few paid EMTs, the Sleepy Hollow Ambulance Corps seems to be experiencing a resurgence. After suffering a period of low morale and low membership while sharing space in the firehouse, membership is up, as are village proceeds, reports new member Shelly Robinson.
SHAC had a table at Saturday’s volunteer community fair in Sleepy Hollow on Saturday, where they offered hands-on CPR demos and life-saving tips on choking avoidance.
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Members new, returning, and paid, talked to Patch about the renewed energy in the organization and a system for 2013 that seems to be working well for them.
Sue Saurow is among five new EMTs hired out from Ossining who among them fill seven days with a 12-hour shift. Robinson noted they are about to go down to four paid members. In any case, their presence is a real boon to the volunteers.
The volunteers are still on their own for overnight shifts, but Robinson noted that’s when most volunteers are home for work anyway. The corps had completed a three-month study first that determined they receive the most calls during the day, so it just “made the most sense,” she said, to get the hired hands for daytime.
With more help around, SHAC is able to better respond to nearly all of the calls it gets without asking for mutual aid. For each call they respond to, the corps earns revenue for the village through insurance and state payments – funds they lose when they can’t get someone to go.
“The calls for mutual aid are down to almost nothing,” Robinson reported, estimating about 8 to 10 a month previously down to one or two.
Averaging more than a call a day, corps members respond to emergencies aboard two ambulances as well as a fly-car staffed by an emergency medical technician.
Village Administrator Anthony Giaccio said there’s almost 30 members now and more even distribution of efforts since EMTs got hired as of Jan. 1. While a volunteer is still needed for every call as the paid EMT can’t go out alone, "it's eased the pressure tremendously and given the volunteers some breathing room and stability,” Giaccio said.
The corps added a few new members to their roster, formally ratified in a vote before the Board of Trustees last week. Maria Gorette Crowe of Sleepy Hollow has been elected to active membership, along with Ryan Cullen of Dobbs Ferry and Katrina Mohrmann of Yonkers.
The corps is holding their annual March elections for officers, and will soon return to the Board to announce the results, as well as give on update on how things are going overall.
Giaccio said that “things are so good now” with the extra EMTs, that the corps has been talking about wanting to buy a new ambulance perhaps in a few years time. They have two housed now on Andrews Lane, as well as an ATV able to navigate the aqueduct trail and useful for special events like marathons.
Giaccio described their building, with the renovations made to it recently, as “adequate" though admitted a few minor complaints.
During the community fair, a few volunteers walked Mayor Ken Wray and a few Trustees who hadn't yet seen the space over to take a tour. The building has a leak from underneath (the roof has been redone) and apparently needs a new drainage system. The main assessment: it's just cramped.
Inside, talks turned to hopes — among volunteers and village officials alike — of someday of tearing the whole thing down and starting over further back in the lot. Ambulances wouldn’t have to back up in the street, stopping traffic, said member and tour guide George Crowe, and if the building went up two stories they could have an office, beds, even a meeting room, upstairs. Now the corps holds its meetings in the actual garage room, which also serves as an office.
It all depends on GM, said Wray.
“This isn’t the first time proposals have come before him for a new building,” Crowe said, who was a member, left, and has now returned. "Someday."
In the meantime, the new paid system is only a trial run. As of June 1, the board will have to revisit the matter and “decide whether to continue,” Giaccio said.
Reporter Tom Bartley contributed to this story.
Please visit, and Like, SHAC's new Facebook page at Shac29 or email them at email@example.com