Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

Eastchester Volunteer Ambulance Corps takes over emergency medical services in Town of Pelham

In November, among those attending the presentation of the new Pelham ambulance were local and state officials, including (in the front row from the left) Councilwoman Kara McLoughlin, Councilwoman Maura Curtin, state Sen. Nathalia Fernandez, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, Town Supervisor Dan McLaughlin and Deputy Town Supervisor Rae Szymanski. (Todd Cross)

The Eastchester Volunteer Ambulance Corps took over providing ambulance service in the Town of Pelham from Empress Emergency Medical Services on New Years’s Day, staffing a vehicle purchased with state funds in the fall.

The Pelham Town Council announced the deal with EVAC in a press release on Sunday. The council budgeted $1.84 million for emergency medical services when it adopted the 2024 spending plan in December, said Councilwoman Maura Curtin in an email. That’s an increase from the $270,667 allocated in 2023, when the town was only funding its EMS fly car.

The Pelham town ambulance will be staffed by a paramedic and an emergency medical technician from the Eastchester company, the release said. In addition, an Eastchester paramedic will crew the fly car, which provides first-response medical assistance but can’t transport patients. Pelham’s contract with Empress ended on Sunday.

“We express our gratitude for the diligent work, strategic planning and collaborative efforts that have paved the way for a dedicated ambulance service in Pelham,” the five members of the town council said in a statement. “We eagerly anticipate our partnership with EVAC and all stakeholders to ensure the success of this much-needed and life-saving service.” 

The effort to improve ambulance service in Pelham began more than a year ago as the town board responded to complaints about delays in Empress ambulances arriving to treat seriously injured people. The council voted in November 2022 to send out a request for proposals for a new ambulance service.

In May, the issue came to a head when the town board called an emergency meeting to discuss the death of a Village of Pelham Manor resident after it took 14 minutes to get an ambulance to the man’s house and to provide an update on the council’s efforts. At the time, Deputy Town Supervisor Rae Szymanski, who spearheaded the RFP effort, said the town budget couldn’t be changed in the middle of the year to begin a new service and funds would have to be included in the 2024 budget.

The town began the process of negotiating with EVAC and budgeting for the contract, while funding for the ambulance was sought and secured through the offices of Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and state Sen. Nathalia Fernandez.

The town’s press release advised residents to continue dialing 911 when they need assistance.


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    Gene IannuzziJan 2, 2024 at 1:51 pm

    The exact cost and increase in Town tax to pay for the improved service was detailed at the last Town board meeting in December and passed after public comment. It was also discussed at several prior meetings, all which can be viewed, and debated on Pelham social media. There was widespread resident support for the budget item and the process was completely transparent. Take a look.