Debate over switching ambulance provider in the Village of Hilton

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HILTON, N.Y. — Village of Hilton leaders say a lot of misinformation has been released by the village’s fire department over a potential change in EMS service.

News10NBC found out whom the village wants to handle resident’s 911 calls and why.

Right now the fire department keeps an ALS ambulance, which is equipped to handle more urgent medical calls, centrally located in the village at their fire station. Although the department says that’s the best place to keep it, the village says otherwise.

Members of the Hilton Village Board are considering contracting with Monroe Ambulance and getting rid of the service currently provided by CHS Mobile Integrated Healthcare. That agency stages an advanced life support ambulance, which is equipped to handle more serious calls, at the Hilton Fire Department.

Village of Hilton Fire Chief Phil Carris says not keeping an ambulance at the firehouse will have a tremendous effect on wait times in an emergency.

“They’re leaving here within usually a two-minute response time,” said Carris. “From the time they get the call to the time they’re out the door is roughly about two minutes and they’re out the door.”

Village Manager Shari Pearce says she doesn’t think changing providers will have a negative impact.

“Monroe Ambulance already services all of Greece, part of Clarkson, and Kendall, and they are in our area right now, and they would just service the Village of Hilton and the Town of Parma without increasing the tax base,” said Pearce.

Village Mayor Joseph Lee agrees.

“We just did not feel comfortable putting a tax burden on our village people, and that’s the way it is,” said Lee.

He also told us the health, and safety of all village residents remains a number 1 priority.

“We’re going to have hopefully Monroe Ambulance in here,” said Lee. “They do a great job. They’ve been here before for years. They’re a great outfit. Nothing against anybody else, but that’s what we voted on.”

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Right now, if you call 911 in Hilton and need medical help, an ambulance will head from the fire department in the middle of the village.

“We’re looking to keep an ALS Unit here for our community which adds an extra ambulance into the area for our community,” said Chief Phil Carris of the Hilton Fire Department.

Carris said in an emergency, every second counts, which is why he wants to see CHS integrated mobile health continue as the village’s EMS ambulance provider.

“They’re leaving here within usually a 2-minute response time from the time they get the call to the time they’re out the door is roughly about 2 minutes, and they’re out the door,” said Shari Pearce, the Village of Hilton Manager and Clerk.

Village leaders are considering contracting with Monroe Ambulance.

“The difference is Monroe is a mobile unit,” Pearce said. “They will not be housed at the fire department 24-7. They move where the calls are. They’re always ready to go take care of whoever needs it.”

In other words, the ambulance crew would stage or literally park in different parts of Monroe County in between service calls. The fire chief said that would have a detrimental impact on response times.

“That ambulance that’s staged at 259 and 104, it could be leaving there to fill a multiple mva, say multiple patients,” Carris said. “So that ambulance will then be gone taking care of that call and then we’re left to whatever ambulance is available.”

Village Mayor Joseph Lee said he supports moving forward with Monroe ambulance and doesn’t believe residents will notice a difference in service.

“The village board has done a great job in researching and making sure we get the right coverage for all of the citizens here in the Village of Hilton,” Lee said. “No matter what’s floating out there. There’s a lot of wrong information.”

No deal has been finalized yet, and CHS will continue to provide ALS ambulance service until Dec. 31.