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SAVES looks to past, future during National EMS Week, five-year anniversary in building

SAVES moved to its new location at 77 Fennell St. in 2007, and this May celebrated its five-year anniversary there.

SAVES moved to its new location at 77 Fennell St. in 2007, and this May celebrated its five-year anniversary there. Photo by Jason Emerson.

— In fact, before SAVES was chartered, there was no ambulance in Skaneateles. People needing emergency medical help were driven to the hospital in the hearse from the local funeral home.

“Now, 45 years later, it’s a really slick operation. Jeff [VanBeveren, executive director] has taken to next level of competence — it all just blows my mind,” Newton said.

What they do

SAVES covers the towns within the Skaneateles school district area, and EMTs and drivers typically work in 12-hour shifts, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“The first thing I do when I get in is check the ambulance for all the necessities: fuel, medicines, batteries for the cardiac monitor. Then I do the checklist sheet we go through at the beginning of every shift,” said Carlson, 25, one of the three full-time SAVES staff. “After that, as any EMS person will tell you, caffeine is a necessity, so you make the coffee. Then you try to get breakfast because you never know when a call will come in.”

In 2011, SAVES responded to 893 Calls, which averages out to 2.5 calls per day.

In the SAVES building, the loudspeaker continually buzzes with incoming calls from all around the area for all local ambulance services. All the SAVES personnel constantly have one ear attuned to the noise. But when the call is specifically for Skaneateles, a plangent buzzer pierces the air, like an alarm clock buzzer magnified times 100.

“Sometimes you can have five calls in one day, and other days you get none,” said Carlson, who has been with SAVES full time for the past five year. “It’s very rewarding, but like any job, this has its ups and downs. You hate to see people in that time of need, but it’s nice to know you’re there. I was born and raised in Skaneateles, and it’s kind of a dream come true to be able to help people I grew up with.”

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