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Rotterdam EMS days are numbered

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Albany/HV: Rotterdam EMS days are numbered
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For the first time in 77 years somebody other than Rotterdam EMS will be showing up to emergency situations, that's because come Monday, their contract is up, and the town has decided to take their business elsewhere. And as YNN's Maria Valvanis explains, now it's the Rotterdam EMS looking for the public's help, to keep them alive.

ROTTERDAM, N.Y. -- They are the sounds Rotterdam EMS employees have become immune too, responding to emergency calls for 77 years. But come Tuesday morning, those noises will be significantly reduced.

"At midnight on Monday our contract runs out with the town," said Dean Romano.

"A plan was devised for us to go temporarily with Mohawk Ambulance until the contract was opened up and voted on," said Harry Bufardi.

"If we don't get this contract on December 11th when they vote on it, it will effectively put this organization out of business and 47 people will loose their job," Roman said.

Right now 911 calls in the town are answered by a Rotterdam EMS employee and a paramedic from the police department. In an effort to diminish the need for two organizations, the town board passed a budget, removing the paramedics from the payroll, and on December 11 will choose one organization that can do both. Something Mohawk Ambulance service can do, and Rotterdam EMS employees claim they can as well.

"It's exactly the same price, it's exactly the same service," said Romano.

"Rotterdam EMS is not currently set up to provide paramedic services, I know they say they are, but they have not received all their licenses they certainly haven't showed us those licenses," Bufardi said.

What Rotterdam EMS does have is the support and trust of the community. Brenda Torosian was just one resident that stopped by to show her gratitude for the more than seven decades of service.

"I came here personally to thank these gentlemen for the hard work they've done for Rotterdam; I want them here," said Torosian.

And Rotterdam EMS employees said they are not planning on going anywhere, until they have too.

"If residents call 911 and need an ambulance they can request Rotterdam EMS to be dispatched and they will still respond to an emergency," said Romano.

But Romano says that can only last as long as the budget will allow it. A special town meeting will be held December 5 for organizations interested in applying for the contract, and the board will vote on December 11. Romano is asking all residents to call town officials and acknowledge their support for the Rotterdam EMS.

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