EMT exchange plan draws ire in Islip Terrace
Residents in Islip Terrace are criticizing their fire department's new plan to use EMTs from neighboring districts to respond to medical emergencies.
Beginning in January, 911 calls will be handled by a group called the "Exchange Ambulance of the Islips." The exchange is staffed by EMTs who currently serve as support for several fire departments in the Islip area. They will now become the primary responders in Islip Terrace.
Residents say they're concerned that the transfer could drag out response times during emergencies, when every second counts.
A driving force behind the move appears to be Lawrence Alper, chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners in Islip Terrace. In a phone interview, Alper told News 12 that response times could actually improve because the exchange has EMTs 24 hours a day.
"This change is being made because the rescue squad in Islip Terrace right now is having difficulty with their volunteers coming down for alarms," he said.
The fire commissioner says the change will be in effect for one year. He says during that time, EMTs in Islip Terrace will undergo retraining to boost their ranks.