CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – An acting head of the Croton EMS has been appointed by the Croton Board of Trustees, following a Citizen Advisory Committee report, which said that enrollment in the volunteer organization is low, turnover is high, and ambulance response times suffer as a result.
Dick Nagle, director of Emergency Management, was appointed "acting department head of the Croton EMS," at Monday evening's Board of Trustees meeting. Nagle said he "wasn't really surprised" that the board asked him to serve as the department head.
"As the head of the Citizens Advisory Committee, we've got a pretty good handle on some of the things that need to be done," Nagle said.
The Croton EMS has two paid EMTs, who are on staff 24 hours per day, seven days a week. The step was taken after the board became aware of the organization's slow response times, more than one year ago. The organization was also allotted a $16,500 recruitment budget 15 months ago, which remains untouched in the village coffers.
The organization handles about 650 calls per year. As a point of comparison, the Croton Fire Department responds to about 140 calls per year.
"The Board of Trustees is very concerned with the current leadership's inability to retain members," Nagle said. "People drop out all the time."
He said his top priority will be to recruit drivers, since there must be both an EMT and a driver in an ambulance before it can leave the Harmon Firehouse, where the ambulance is stationed.
The resolution reads that the "Board of Trustees hereby accepts the recommendations of the Croton EMS Citizens Advisory Committee to provide additional oversight by appointing an acting department head that will report directly to the Village Manager."
Nagle said he'll provide that additional oversight by speaking with the village manager every day, similar to a daily report provided by the Croton police chief. Additionally, he'll provide a written report each month, which is now completed by current EMS leadership. Nagle is working with the Croton EMS on a volunteer basis, and will not be compensated.
Although Nagle said the Croton EMS will retain the current leadership, it's unclear what their role will be in the future or how it might change as a result of "necessary operational changes for the proper functioning of the Croton EMS," as the resolution states.
Current Croton EMS leadership could not be reached for comment Monday evening.