GLENVILLE -- The town of Glenville on Thursday donated a town vehicle to the town's volunteer fire chiefs, to be used as a first-response vehicle during the coronavirus crisis.
"First responders are often able to respond quickly and provide initial assessment and treatment prior to the ambulance arrival, especially if the ambulance service is experiencing high call volume, which may occur in the coming weeks with COVID-19," said Rick Manocchi, chief of the Glenville Hill Fire Company and president of the Town of Glenville Fire Chiefs Association.
The vehicle, which formerly was used by the town's building department, has been retrofitted for use as a medical first response vehicle, to be staffed by emergency medical technicians and certified first responders who will have personal protective equipment available, and will assess an incident for the potential of coronavirus exposure. The goal is to minimize the risk for volunteer firefighters who arrive on an emergency medical scene.
"In these unprecedented times our departments are thinking outside the box to protect our members and residents," Manocchi said. "Supplies are limited, and the more we can do to limit our exposure the better served our residents will be for responses beyond medical."
The chiefs' association represents the leaders of the volunteer fire departments or fire districts in town, most of which are staffed by volunteers: Alplaus, Beukendaal, East Glenville, Glenville Hill, Thomas Corners, and West Glenville. The village of Scotia and Stratton Air National Guard are also part of the association, but not participating in the new endeavor.
Together, the six companies expect to respond to about 2,000 emergency medical calls annually.
The 2006 Ford Escape was modified for emergency response use by the town highway department using surplus or donated equipment, while the participating fire companies donated medical supplies. The vehicle will continue to be covered by town insurance, and the town will pay for gas and maintenance.
The arrangement between the town and the fire districts came together in only a week's time, according to Manocchi.
"I am happy that the town is able to use its resources to support the good work that our first responders do in our community," Koetzle said. "I want to thank Deputy Supervisor Gina Wierzbowski, a first-responder herself, Chief Manocchi, and the workers in our highway department for leading this effort."
The first-response vehicle will be staffed in shifts to be available at all times. An ambulance will continue to be dispatched to all medical calls, Koetzle said.
"This is how local government works: We work together, we support each other and do what's in the best interest of the residents we serve," Koetzle said.