News & Announcements

Chemical Assisted Suicide Responder Reference Released

The HazMat Fusion Center recently released a Chemical Assisted Suicide Responder Reference to aid emergency responders in recognizing and managing chemical suicides. These incidents are happening with increasing frequency across the Country. It is not a question of if, but when, we will see our first of these in Saratoga County. Multiple occurrences throughout New York State have had serious health consequences for responders. EMS Coordinator Mike McEvoy strongly recommends that all services laminate this reference card and place one in each of their response vehicles. Let’s not lose an EMS provider for failing to keep abreast of the dangers we all face out there!

Dispatch Protocol Change

In October, the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department switched to ProQA, a computerized version of the Medical Priority Dispatch cards used to process EMS calls. This will allow implementation of several new dispatch protocols, some not previously available. The first is Protocol 33, the Transfer/Interfacility/Palliative Care protocol. Calls from medical facilities such as doctor’s offices or nursing homes where the patient is being cared for by a nurse or physician will be processed using Card 33. Patients not arresting or post-resuscitation who, in the opinion of the healthcare provider do not require a Priority One response, will now be dispatched as a Priority 2-Alpha response. This change will more efficiently screen calls from medical facilities and significantly decrease inappropriate dispatch of first responders to healthcare locations. Healthcare facilities have long requested that we accept their professional appraisal of the need for emergency versus non-emergency responses. Now, we can. It is important to advise crews of this change as there is a tendency to associate the response determinant (i.e., Alpha) with a non-acute patient. Using Card 33, the only thing that an Alpha determinant tells you is that healthcare professionals are currently caring for the patient and do not require immediate assistance. It in no way implies that the patient does not require ALS or extra manpower. If you are unsure of what additional resources may be needed, please ask EMS Dispatch. One of the caller questions elicits needs for special equipment (such as a bariatric stretcher or helicopter) and another question determines whether additional personnel (such as ALS providers) are necessary. Please refer any questions to Mike McEvoy, EMS-1 at

EMS Admin Group Salutes SEMS Providers

The Saratoga County EMS Administrators Council, a group representing the Administrators of the larger ambulance services in the County issued an open letter saluting the EMS professionals working for Saratoga Emergency Medical Services (SEMS). On Friday, February 17th at 06:00 am, SEMS will cease operations. Click here for a copy of the letter.

Congratulations Dr. Pomeroy!

Dr. Greer Pomeroy, who retired last year after serving over 40 years in various EMS leadership positions including more than 20 years tenure as Saratoga County EMS Medical Director, was honored October 14th at the REMO 2009 EMS Awards Ceremony held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Albany. Dr. Pomeroy was named EMS Physician of Excellence for her many contributions in the Region. Also recognized was Deb Kufs (EMS Educator of Excellence), Brian Sleurs (Communication Specialist of the Year), David DeRossi (RN of Excellence), Colonie EMS (Agency of the Year), and Columbia County EMS Coordinator PJ Keeler (EMS Leadership Award). Kudos to all.

Older Pagers Not Compatible with New Alerting System

Within the next few months, Saratoga County will go live with a simulcast EMS and Fire paging system on 155.925 MHz. While designed to dramatically boost reception, the new system will operate under new FCC narrow band licensing requirements causing older pagers to no longer function. All services are once again reminded to verify that all EMS and Fire pagers are narrowband capable prior to the end of 2010. A simple rule of thumb for Motorola pagers is to look at the front of the pager. Minitor V pagers are narrowband capable, all other models are NOT and will not work once the simulcast system goes live. Additionally, the Saratoga County Motorola pager purchasing contract expires on 12/31/10. Any agency needing to purchase replacements is strongly encouraged to take advantage of this rock-bottom pricing before the contract expires.