Community Emergency Corps was established in 1966 by a group of concerned citizens for the purpose of providing ambulance service to the Village of Ballston Spa, the Town of Milton, and part of the Towns of Ballston and Greenfield. Prior to this, emergency transports to a hospital were handled by personal vehicles or the local funeral homes. New York State, as many others, ended up putting a stop to this practice, thereby creating the need for a formalized ambulance service with trained attendants.
This group of concerned citizens, our charter members, met in December 1966 at the Eagle-Matt-Lee Fire House to coordinate what needed to be done to start this service. A contest was held to decide the name for the new ambulance service and the winning name chosen was “Community Emergency Corps” because of the varied communities we serve. We operated out of two garages, at Guertin’s Funeral Home and Groom’s Garage, with two used 1965 Pontiac ambulances. Our current location, at 78 Thompson St., was donated by Dr. Pastore and the original construction was completed by Raymond Leonard with the help of Corps members. Times were tough at the beginning with very little money or medical supplies to go around. This resulted in door to door solicitation for funds as well as coin drops, public dinners, and other fund raising efforts for many years.
The volunteer members of this organization dedicated themselves to providing care to the sick and injured whenever and wherever they were called. In the early 1970’s we added a third ambulance due to an increase in call volume. In 1992, we expanded our station to better meet the needs of our growing community and the addition of a first response vehicle.
Over the years, knowledge and technology in emergency medical services had changed requiring our personnel to become certified by the New York State Department of Health. The days of scoop up the patient, provide oxygen, and transport were waning. There were the beginnings of a better understanding of the human physiology and the treatment of illnesses and injuries was improving by leaps and bounds. Early detection of illnesses and cardiac issues, the advent of defibrillation units on the scenes, and more advanced training for emergency responders to the EMT level meant more time involved for our volunteers. But that extra time was taking a toll on our group. There was a severe lack of new volunteers to reinforce or replace our existing folks which brought about a significant change to our organization, especially during the daytime hours when it was hardest to get a crew together when needed.
In 1997, the decision was made to hire career EMTs for daytime coverage. This was a drastic change for an all- volunteer agency. This change was compounded by the decision, in 1998, to advance to a Paramedic level ambulance service. This advanced level of care greatly enhanced how a patient could be treated in the field. Residents, commuters, and those working in our towns were all now much better cared for in the event of an incident.
Since then, we have progressed to the point where we have 2 full Paramedic level teams at the ready 24/7. Every day, our responders are in the building ready to respond to whatever situation comes up. This significantly reduces the response times to your house, your children’s school, or your place of business as well as the time needed to respond to adjacent towns like Galway, Providence, or Malta, for mutual aid calls
The time, energy, and education required to maintain our certification had become immense so, in 2002, we began participating in the New York State PILOT program for recertification, training, and continuing medical education. All of our providers are able to recertify their training on-line right from our station which is much easier and more efficient for them. We are also active participants in the Saratoga County Emergency Medical Services Council.
We are active in the community all year, providing stand-by service for multiple public events, such as the Saratoga County Fair, Family Fun Day, Irish Fest, The Way We Were car show, High School football games, the Milton Town Park events, and some of the Concerts in the Park at Wiswall Park. We participate in most Village Parades, and provide educational demos at the Public Elementary Schools, St. Mary’s, and BACC, just to name a few activities. We are an official collection point for the Toys for Tots campaign each year.
You will see our units assisting the Fire Departments at fire scenes, motor vehicle accidents, and training opportunities. Responding to over 2500 emergency calls a year keeps us pretty busy so chances are you will see our teams almost anywhere in the area at some point.
Community Emergency Corps is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 volunteer based emergency medical services organization still serving the Village of Ballston Spa, the entire Town of Milton, the northern section of the Town of Ballston, and the Middle Grove Fire District in the Town of Greenfield. We provide 24/7/365 Advanced Life Support Paramedic Level ambulance service through our base of volunteers and career personnel. We are always in need of dedicated, caring people to help us serve our community. We have volunteer friendly schedules (ride as often or as little as you want, no required hours), a great learning environment, and the need for more members. We are also always looking for folks to join our all-volunteer Board of Directors. Please consider VOLUNTEERING TO GIVE BACK TO YOUR COMMUNITY!