Pelham Town Council votes to make town an ambulance district and send out RFP for new services

The Pelham Town Council unanimously approved Nov. 7 a resolution making the town an ambulance district and then voted in favor of a request for proposals (RFP) seeking a company to provide ambulance service to the town.

The adopted resolutions reads:

WHEREAS, the town board of the Town of Pelham has determined that it is necessary and appropriate and in the best interest of the public safety and welfare to obtain operating authority in connection with the provision of ambulance services for the residents of the Town of Pelham, including the Village of Pelham and the Village of Pelham Manor, Westchester County, New York.

WHEREAS, that the town board of the Town of Pelham hereby authorizes the supervisor of the Town of Pelham to file a copy of this resolution with the NYS Department of Health, and complete, execute and file any and all documents necessary to obtain municipal ambulance service operating authority for the Town of Pelham.

WHEREAS, the coverage of EMS ambulance service will encompass the areas within the town and both village borders as indicated on the attached map.

In the RFP, the town is seeking “proposals from qualified ambulance service companies to provide emergency medical services (EMS), including one advanced life support (“ALS”) fly car and basic life support (“BLS”) ambulance transport service.”

The town EMS fly car is currently operated by Empress Ambulance. The winner of the contract would replace that service and also provide ambulances to take patients to the hospital.

The RFP was written as a result of meetings with the leaders of the fire and police departments, the village administrators, as well as two residents expert on EMS RFPs, including Ray Florida, who ran EMS in Rockland County, according to Supervisor Dan McLaughlin.

Deputy Supervisor Rae Szymanski said the board plans to take steps to insure more than one company responds to the RFP.

The Pelham Examiner has requested a copy of the RFP.

Szymanski, who is the town board member responsible for the fly car and spearheaded the RFP effort, reported to the board on recent incidents with a infant and a child that involved complaints about ambulance response times on Facebook.

In the case of the infant, the family didn’t know the fly car could provide aid and took the baby to the hospital themselves, she said. With the child, who was at a modified football game, Empress didn’t have a vehicle ready and neglected to call for mutual aid, something for which the company has since apologized, she said.

Szymanski said she shared with the mother of that child “we take this very seriously.”

Councilwoman Kara McLoughlin suggested further education about what the fly car can do.

McLoughlin reported Pelham Recreation “had a very busy month” in November, including several senior group excursions that were well attended. The recreation department will be hosting the Christmas tree lighting and caroling event on Nov. 26 and the holiday party for special needs children on Dec. 2.

Because of his support for Pelham Recreation, Nick Senerchia received the John Marshall Award. Marshall, a doctor for the U.S. Olympic ski team, was from Pelham and died in a plane crash in 1981 on the way to the Olympics.