Essex County advances shared EMS pilot program

ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County is slowly making progress with implementing a pilot program to test whether a countywide EMS system would be feasible.

County officials are poised to select a paid deputy EMS coordinator who would aid in the rollout of that $2.27 million, state-funded program. Three additional pieces of the pilot are on the county Board of Supervisors’ docket for June 3, including eight new hires to supplement local EMS squads and the purchase of 20 new defibrillators.

The board voted May 6 to authorize hiring a new paid deputy EMS coordinator to help administer the pilot. The deadline for applications to fill the position was Tuesday, according to Essex County EMS Coordinator Patty Bashaw. County officials will review each application before making a decision. Whoever is hired will earn a salary between $52,388 and $58,011 per year, and their appointment will be provisional pending civil service approval.

As part of the pilot, four new medic cars are set to be purchased, and paid paramedics and EMTs under the purview of the county are set to be hired to supplement existing volunteer squads in Wilmington, Ticonderoga, Crown Point and Moriah. By improving service in this four-town test area, which has some of the highest rates of dropped calls in the county, the county stands to unlock an additional $4 million in state funding that could be used to expand the system countywide.

The Board of Supervisors’ Ways and Means Committee advanced three measures Tuesday related to the pilot, including the purchase of 20 defibrillators for $60,000 and the hiring of five paid paramedics and three paid EMTs under the purview of the county to supplement volunteer squads. All three resolutions are pending until a decision by the full board on Monday.