In those vital moments when a medical emergency strikes, you don’t want to wonder about the quality of your town’s ambulance squad, about who is standing by, and how they’ll arrive, and what can they do to help.
We at the Johnsburg Emergency Squad want you to be confident when you dial 911, that when you need us most, you and your family, your neighbors and friends, are getting the best care there is. Over the next several months we will publish a series of articles to show you how our system works, we’ll introduce you to our crews and equipment, and show you our preparedness--the professionalism at our core--that we bring on every call.
The Town of Johnsburg joined the 911 system in the early nineties. Before that, you called a local number, reaching a local dispatcher at home. Most often that person was Carol Thomas, and when her phone rang, she’d start dialing down the list of members, asking if they could go. She needed to know everyone’s schedule, who was around and where they’d be and who had to get up in the morning and who had little kids they couldn’t leave. When you call 911 now, you’ll be talking to a sheriff’s deputy in Lake George. They’ll take down your personal information and location, and will also ask several questions about your complaints, the duration and severity. They do this in order to decide whether to dispatch a basic life support (BLS) or an advanced life support (ALS) ambulance.
Before 911 came to Johnsburg, there was no guarantee what kind of care you’d receive. The local dispatcher would try to get an EMT to ride, an Emergency Medical Technician, or at least a CFR, a Certified First Responder, but sometimes all she could find to go were two drivers, who’d get the patient into the ambulance as fast as they could, and race to the hospital and hope for the best.
New York State now mandates that at least an EMT responds to every Basic Life Support call type, for general illness and simple trauma. But if the call is more complicated-- for chest pain or shortness of breath, heart dysrhythmia or major trauma, altered mental status or any of the many kinds of shock--the state requires that a fully equipped ALS ambulance be dispatched, staffed by a Critical Care Technician (Tek) or Paramedic, under the direction of a physician in Glens Falls Hospital. Johnsburg Emergency Squad now operates three ALS equipped ambulances, with at least one Critical Care Tek or Paramedic on duty every shift, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, ready for every emergency.