CHENANGO COUNTY – Two area fire and EMS volunteers say they see a need and an opportunity amidst the county’s ongoing ambulance shortage and have plans to start up a private emergency service in Norwich by January.
Still in the development stages, Georgetown residents James and Larinda Cross, volunteers with the South Otselic Volunteer Fire Department, are looking to initially provide two ambulances – a 24-hour and 16-hour on-call – and employ around 18 full-time and part-time EMTs.
“There is a need in Chenango County,” said Larinda, whose husband James has been the fire chief in South Otselic for the past five years. “And we want to provide the citizens of Chenango County with a reliable and professional ambulance service.”
The need for 24-hour-guaranteed ambulances became a problem in January when Superior Ambulance Inc., headquartered in Broome County, cut back its services by two thirds. Citing a lack of profitable business, Superior stopped taking calls in Chenango County all together last month.
To offset the loss of Superior, area emergency officials and lawmakers are considering creating a county-run emergency service, but have stalled those discussions in favor of recruiting a private ambulance company based out of Cooperstown.