CHENANGO COUNTY – It’s no longer safe.
That’s how a long-time emergency service provider described the situation Thursday after Superior Ambulance announced plans to pull its last on-call ambulance out of the county after scaling back its operation in January.
The announcement leaves the City of Norwich as the only advanced life-support EMS crew in northern Chenango County, and highlights a critical problem, said the veteran county EMT, who asked not to be identified.
“With Superior not being in the picture, the Norwich Fire Department may be called upon to cover more areas within the county, most likely causing a shortage of coverage in the Greater Norwich area. How much longer is it possible for them to realistically cover calls throughout the county and still keep an ambulance to cover the areas they are responsible for?” the EMT said. “The bottom line is that Chenango County, as well as many other areas, are in desperate need of a total public safety reorganization ... this system is no longer a safe one and changes need to be made and made now. Lives and property depend on it.”
Norwich Fire Chief Joseph Angelino also questions how long his department can keep the pace.
“There is no way the firefighters here will ever be able to make up for the loss of a paid ambulance here,” he said. “Our ambulance service is finite.”