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Monday, April 13, 2015

Middleport Fire Co. firefighters attend to a Peet Street fire in this December
file photo. The department will stop offering ALS support at the end of the
month due to low staffing levels. (ENP FILE PHOTO / JT DERDA)
MIDDLEPORT — Middleport Fire Co. will cease providing Advanced Life Support (ALS) at the end of the month.

A press release sent from Middleport Fire Co. EMS Captain Eric Dodge says the decision was made following "much discussion and soul searching" due to the declining staff numbers.

"Currently the State of New York requires any ALS agency to maintain certification through rigorous Department of Health (DOH) standards," according to the press release. "Ond of these standards is that our squad may not respond to any EMS incident without minimum staffing that includes at least a Certified EMT."

The reduced staffing levels in the department make that — at times — an impossible standard for the squad to maintain with immediacy.

"This causes undue delays in providing even the most basic level of care to the people that need it most," the press release explains.

As such, the department will surrender its DOH certification as of 11:59 p.m. April 30, at which time it will no longer be able to provide Advanced Life Support.

The department is working on completing an application with the state that would allow it to become a Basic Life Support-First Response (BLS-FR) agency, which would not have the same strict standards as an ALS agency does.

The company will continue to operate Automated External Defribrillators under a public access program, and after the BLS-FR application is approved, it will be allowed to administer some basic medications when necessary.

As for ALS services, they will be provided by Tri-Town Ambulance, the department's ambulance provider, which is authorized to provide limited ALS.  "Depending on where the call is located in our district, we will use Paramedics from either the Village of Medina Fire Department or Rural Metro Ambulance," Dodge said.

"The decision to cease ALS operations was a heart-wrenching one for many of us," the press release concludes. "However, we feel this decision was a necessary one that will help improve our response time to assist those in need within our district."

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