The Ogdensburg Council discussed on Sept. 23, a meeting Mayor George Hutnick and Councilwoman Brenda O’Dell had with the Ogdensburg First Aid Squad.
Hutnick said they discussed needs, membership, and state requirements. He added, even during their meeting, three surrounding towns could not secure an ambulance at the same time.
Furthermore, he said, even Sparta, which has a paid Emergency Service, is having trouble.
He saidthat 90 percent of the problems are due to state EMT requirements.
O’Dell, he continued, is a nurse and her skills are higher than an EMT, and per the state, she does not qualify as an EMT. In order to become an EMT, Hutnick explained, O’Dell would need to re-take a whole course, although medical people are over-qualified and not allowed to help.
Additionally, Hutnick said no one has the time for the EMT course, which requires 250 hours, and the state keeps adding to it. Also, he said, two EMTs are required on an ambulance in order to make an emergency call.
O’Dell mentioned liability problems with shared services of town ambulances.
Councilwoman Rachel Slater said that should not be a concern because the Ogdensburg fire trucks go everywhere in the county. She added there may be issues with a member from a different department riding on another town’s rig.
“We will find a solution,” Hutnick said.
Currently, he continued, they are also looking into a Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP).
O’Dell said it would possibly be an incentive to draw in new members. The next EMT class will be in January.
Municipal Clerk Robin Hough explained LOSAP is a time-consuming process. The town needs to pass an ordinance, set up a point system, send it to the county, and pass a referendum.
Councilman Anthony Nasisi asked, “Is anyone addressing that the state’s requirement is being too aggressive?”
Council President Michael Nardini suggested contacting N.J. Senator Steve Oroho.