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EAVES asks the public for help to build new facility

Matthew Karasek, an EMT, and DJ Potter, a paramedic, stand in front of the second EAVES garage, built by EAVES personnel to accommodate the vehicles that can’t fit in the first garage. The squad car has to be pulled in at an angle to so that the car and rehab team trailer can fit in one space.

Matthew Karasek, an EMT, and DJ Potter, a paramedic, stand in front of the second EAVES garage, built by EAVES personnel to accommodate the vehicles that can’t fit in the first garage. The squad car has to be pulled in at an angle to so that the car and rehab team trailer can fit in one space. Photo by Allie Wenner.

— This year, East Area Volunteer Emergency Services, Inc. (EAVES) is celebrating its 40th year of service to the village of East Syracuse and the northern part of the town of DeWitt. And a lot in the industry has changed since the first EMTs and paramedics began rolling out the stretchers in 1973 at EAVES’ current headquarters, located near Carrier Circle. Which is why the men and women who work and volunteer there are finding themselves in a tough spot – they simply do not have enough space to store equipment, accommodate personnel overnight and perform some of their operations.

“The biggest reason we need a new facility is because we are totally out of space here,” said Vincent Stevenson, the director of operations at EAVES. “When this facility was built, it was never meant to accommodate the amount of crews that we have now. Back in 1984 when I first joined, we were doing 1,000 calls each year. Now we’re doing 2,700 calls.”

The problems really started for EAVES back in 2005, when the creek that runs behind the building overflowed and caused more than $100,000 worth of damage inside. The damage, combined with the lack of space, raised a red flag for EAVES personnel, who have been trying to find a solution to this growing problem ever since.

Because the current facility is surrounded on all sides by other buildings, that means EAVES would have to build vertically. Adding additional floors would cost $1.7 million, as opposed to spending $1.2 million to start from scratch, construct a new facility, get away from the creek and own the land. Currently, EAVES owns its building, but the town of DeWitt owns the land it sits upon.

A new location could also allow EAVES responders to be located in a more centralized part of its district. EAVES sits in the northern part of the response district at its location on New Venture Gear Drive, and Stevenson said that depending on the conditions, it can sometimes take them more than 10 minutes to get to the southern parts of the district.

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