Skaneateles You see the ambulance, the personnel in their blue uniforms, at parades, school events, community events, athletic competitions like SkanRaces — but do you understand who they are and what they do for the community? When the ambulance with SAVES on the side drives by with lights and sirens going, do you understand the EMS responders inside could be going to save a life?
“Unless you’re operating with us, it’s tough to grasp our operations,” said Skaneateles Ambulance Volunteer Emergency Services paramedic Jake Carlson. “You can’t appreciate us until you need us.”
SAVES has 12 full-and part-time employees and 30 volunteers who, with two ambulances, operate out of their building on Fennel Street. They do everything from handling major injury traumas, like car accidents and fires, to responding to calls for heart attacks and back pain, to transporting people to the hospital to simply being a preventative presence at athletic events.
The EMTs who respond to these calls are skilled life-savers who log hours and hours of medical training every year and have numerous technical medical devices at their disposal to do their jobs.
“The ambulance is a little emergency room; these paramedics are paid and professionals, they make you better in the ambulance,” said SAVES volunteer driver George Newton. “They save lives; we didn’t used to save lives; we just transported to the hospital.”
Newton, a retired local dentist, has been a member of SAVES for 45 years, and was a charter member of the organization when it was created in 1967.
“’Scoop and go’ is what we did back then: there was not much we could do, so we’d scoop you up and take you to the hospital. If someone had a heart attack we could give oxygen, or splint a broken arm, but there were no drugs, EKG machines, telemetry, nothing that they have now,” Newton said.