Service must communicate

The Ambulance Service of Fulton County may be able to handle medical emergencies, but it needs some work on its communication.

The service has been in the news lately because of a policy reversal and a walkout by a group of employees.

The ambulance service sent a letter to Gloversville in early May saying it no longer would respond to lift-assistance and non-injury calls.

After the city received the letter, the Fire Department began to temporarily pick up that responsibility of answering lift-assistance and non-injury calls.

City officials also expressed concerns about the sudden change during a Common Council meeting.

However, the service recently rescinded that letter.

Board of Directors President Tobin Cash said the ambulance service changed its decision after hearing complaints from the council.

On Tuesday, about 20 full-time employees staged a walkout.

According to Cash, part of the reason some of the employees walked out was they wanted the Fulton County service to consolidate with the Greater Amsterdam Volunteer Ambulance Corps immediately.

Since late winter, the service has been having internal conversations with representatives of the Amsterdam service about a potential merger or sharing of services to become more economical.

All of this seems to have been precipitated by the fact the previous Fulton County ambulance service manager, Howard Hime, retired earlier this year after nearly 50 years of service. The ambulance service’s board appears interested in reviewing the practices of the service.

That’s good; all organizations need to periodically take a look at how they are doing things to make sure they are working efficiently and achieving their goals.

However, the ambulance service needs to communicate better with the public.

It provides an important service. When people call for an ambulance, it’s essential they know whether the squad will respond, or if help will have to come from somewhere else.

We’d suggest the board members take a look at how they are communicating with the public. If the board fails to reach out to the public, sadly, rumors on social media will fill in for their silence. That could hinder what the organization is trying to do.