EMS gaps posing challenges for some Capital Region communities

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NewsChannel 13 recently took a ride with Albany County’s ambulance service. It was created to fill the gap as volunteer departments decline in more rural parts of the county.

We’re investigating how EMS is different from police and fire under the law, and are looking at the complicated web of coverage that affects who comes when you call 911.

“I think that a lot of people just assume that ‘I’m going to call 911, I’m going to get an ambulance,’ and it’s a good assumption, and that’s the assumption that you should have. But there’s a lot of work that goes into making sure that those things can happen, a lot of agreements that have to happen,” said Lieutenant Nena Ruiz, with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.

“When you look at these municipalities and you’re seeing millions of dollars spent on fire and police, and they spend no money or very little money on EMS, it tells their commitment to providing that service to their residents,” Commander Brian Wood with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office said.

Starting Live at 4 and on WNYT.com Stella Porter looks at the questions that remain as some state lawmakers push for EMS to be designated as essential.

You can click here to watch her story about the tense debate in communities like Cohoes about the best way to provide EMS through the fire department or through private companies.