A History of Bath Ambulance Corps.
Bath Ambulance Corps, taken in part, from a document prepared by Margaret Callear for our 10th anniversary.
Late in 1966 a decision was made by the State Dept. of Health, whereby ambulance services had to be improved. Especially as far as training for attendants and new more modern equipment had to be made available.
Up until this time, ambulance service in Bath, was furnished by funeral directors. After lengthy decisions and meetings the funeral directors decided it was financially impossible to send their personnel to school to learn more first aid.
The Dept of Health also stressed the fact that well equipped ambulances had to be available. This again was a financial burden. As a result of a decision by the funeral directors, ambulance service would be discontinued as of December 31, 1966. This decision was a blow to the residents of the Town of Bath. There would be no ambulance service and something had to be done fast, so the late Ed Humphrey, Supervisor of the Town of Bath took the bull by the horns.
A series of meetings was held with locally interested people as well as Mr. Jim Dugan, Chief of Wellsboro, Pa. Fire Dept. It was decided a volunteer ambulance service would be started in the Town of Bath. The Wellsboro fire Dept had one of the best and most modern ambulance service in the east, so with some of the good advice from Chief Dugan, things started to happen.
With the help of Supervisor Humphrey, a group of interested and dedicated men and women started getting organized. A "Standard and Advanced First Aid" course was started by Mrs. Betty Langendorfer. This course was taught by local doctors who were specialists in their field. At the same time the First Aid courses were being taught, organizational meetings were being held. "VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE SERVICE OF BATH, NY., INC" was formed. Again, with the help of the Town of Bath, two ambulances (one costing $700.00) were secured and later sold to the Volunteer Ambulance Service for a token fee.
Then came D-Day, Jan 1, 1967, Bath Volunteer Ambulance was officially in operation.
There was still one problem, none of the volunteers had experience driving an ambulance. With the much appreciated assistance of Fagan's, Jones, and Bond-Davis funeral homes experienced drivers rode with the new volunteers. This is how the Bath Volunteer Ambulance was conceived.
As the Bath Volunteer Ambulance went into operation a very small garage on the corner of W. Morris & Lackawanna St was used. This small building was very inconvenient especially when the rigs were washed as they had to be moved outside.
After a couple of years of working in cramped quarters, a new building was proposed. As the building was in its planning state, of course a piece of land was necessary to put the building on. Several lots were considered but the one they purchased was the Tharp property at 110 E. Steuben St. Under the most able guidance of Jack Fritz, construction was started. In May of 1970 the new building was completed. The only part of the construction that was contracted out was the excavation and the concrete work, floors and cellar walls.
A great many dedicated corps members and a good number of interested citizens put in hundreds of hours to make this new building possible. This building had room for four vehicles, meeting room, complete kitchen, washer and dryer, two complete bathrooms and office.
The Bath Vol. Ambulance was radio equipped and since we did not have a dispatcher of our own, many, many thanks to the Bath Electric, Gas and Water System we had twenty four hour dispatching service. The service desk of the Electric, Gas and Water System was located on Ark St and had a man on 24 hrs. a day. Our base radio is attended to by these men in addition to their regular duties. This is a service that was greatly appreciated by the Ambulance Corps.
We now have three fully equipped ambulances and a staff of fully trained corps personnel. We use the man term, but this is only a figure of speech, because we also have a very dedicated group of women who take their turns on the ambulance schedule. The corps members are continually taking additional training in fact most of the members are certified Emergency Medical Technicians approved by the state department of health.
The following is an example of activities for the calendar year of 1974. There were 749 requests for service, this includes emergency runs, routine transfers, dry runs (Yes, we have them), Stand bys for football games, track meets, parades, walk-a-thons, etc. and mutual aids. A total of 42 members were used, 25,759 miles were logged, 2,858 gals of gas were used, total man hours were 2,922. There were also 31 non-members used, these were mainly nurses and off-duty nurses who had been asked to go on extreme emergencies.
The financing of the Bath volunteer Ambulance Corps was strictly by associate memberships and donations and is no way subsidized by state, county or local taxes. The memberships are as follows: Family- $7.50, Family and out of town guests- $10.00, Individual- $4.00 and Individual and out of town guests- $6.50. this rate was not changed for many years, although expenses had continually increased.
Things in Bath have changed drastically since Mrs. Callear prepared this article back in 1975, but some things still remain the same. The Bath Ambulance Corps is still providing excellent medical services to the Bath area. In 2003 we ran 1,643 runs in 3 different ambulances staffed by over 50 volunteers of which 36 are NYS certified Emergency Medical Technicians. Our funding is now partially through our associate memberships and also what is collected from individual's insurance and we still do not collect funds from taxes, however our membership dues have increased to $25 per family and $20 for an individual, up from the original $7.50 and $4.00.
In the days following the 9/11 attacks in NYC, we sent an ambulance, supplies and crew to the city to assist in any way necessary at Ground Zero or wherever there was a need.
2004 has seen us undertaking a major renovation of our Steuben St. building, with a partition being installed to separate the truck bays from the meeting room and lounge area, bathrooms were updated, and an addition to the kitchen is still underway. With the installation of a new heating system we will now have zoned heat which should drastically cut our heating costs.
One thing that we are continually receiving questions about is the use of that little vehicle that is often seen accompanying us when we are on runs. Because of the limited services that an New York State certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) can provide we occasionally request a trained paramedic to respond with us to offer the higher level of care that we are unqualified to provide. This service is offered by Rural Metro out of Corning and they are totally separate from the Bath Ambulance Corps. In the event that they are called to assist with a patient Rural Metro will also be sending a bill for their services.
We are proud of the facility that we now have and the quality of services we provide, it is our hope that we can continue to provide our friends and neighbors with a first rate ambulance service that is there for you when you need us. We would love to have you stop in during the day to look over our equipment and building and we would like to answer any questions that you may have about the services we provide.