Middleport Fire Company will cease ALS services

Staff Reports Posted 13 April 2015 at 12:00 am

MIDDLEPORT – The Middleport Fire Company will cease providing advanced life support service on April 30 due to declining manpower.

“Unfortunately, with the reduced number of certified EMS staff available to us, there are many times when our squad is unable to respond until we are certain that an ambulance is en route with an EMT on board,” said Eric Dodge, paramedic and EMS captain. “This causes undue delays in providing even the most basic level of care to the people that need it the most.”

The fire company in eastern Niagara County started providing advanced life support services in 1991. At the time, Middleport had five paramedics and several emergency medical technicians, Dodge said.

“These dedicated volunteer personnel have undertaken thousands of hours of training, and have cared for hundreds of sick and injured patients throughout the years,” he said in a news release. “There is no way of knowing just how many lives they have helped to save.”

Dodge said the fire company has fewer paramedics and EMTs now and often hasn’t had adequate staff for ambulance calls.

The fire company, “after much discussion and soul-searching,” will surrender its state certification at 11:59 p.m. on April 30. The fire company is applying to the state Department of Health to become a BLS-FR agency, which will not have such strict standards on staffing levels, Dodge said.

“We have held in-house training and had several of our members successfully complete American Red Cross ‘Responding To Emergencies’ and CPR training,” Dodge said. “We hope to conduct an American Red Cross ‘Emergency Responder’ class soon as well. This is the highest level of care the American Red Cross conducts. If there is enough interest, we will petition for the State to conduct a ‘First Responder’ class sometime in the future as well.”

Middleport will still operate Automated External Defibrillators under a Public Access Defibrillator program. If the BLS-FR status is secured, Dodge said the fire company hopes to be able to administer some basic medications to help people having allergic reactions or trouble breathing.