Ticonderoga Emergency Squad
The Ticonderoga Emergency Squad INC. was formed in 1941 by a group of hard-working local men who determined the need for an ambulance service in the Ticonderoga area. They started the organization using old hearses to transport patients to and from hospitals. Calling 911 and the procedures in which an ambulance gets dispatched to you has changed significantly since the beginning of our journey as an emergency squad.
For starters, the universal 911 system was not established until the late 1960s; therefore, people would dial a direct number, not 911, to reach the town’s dispatchers. The dispatchers, often operating from their homes, would have a red emergency phone that people would call when needing police, fire or EMS. They would each take turns being on duty to dispatch and whenever a call came through, all the red phones would ring, but only the on-duty dispatcher would answer the phone. The dispatcher would then see who was on duty, then phone the ambulance crew to get the ambulance and respond to the call. You can probably imagine the time delay it took to get an ambulance to respond in comparison to today's emergency responses.
The ambulance crew, usually a comprised of two members, would then respond to the scene/home of the call, pick up the patient and transport to the nearest hospital with very minimal care. They would also transport from the area’s local hospitals to larger hospitals when patients needed further care. There were very few to none medical direction or regulations for the agency to follow during these calls. The ambulance crews were your average man who would pick up a sick or injured person and get them to the hospital. There was very little medical care provided to the patient until the ambulance reached the hospital. This is probably how the term, "load and go," came about.
We all know that this is not the case anymore as emergency services, as a whole, has evolved drastically to provide better care and faster responses to those in urgent need. There is a nationwide number to dial when needing emergency services which we know as dialing 911. Dispatchers now operate from highly technologically advanced call centers and dispatch police, fire, and EMS within seconds of an emergency call being received. They can trace phone callers in the event the caller gets disconnected from the call center and help can still be sent to the caller’s location.
Ambulance services now must meet department of transportation and department of health regulations and guidelines. The crews who operate the ambulance must take specialized training to operate the emergency vehicles and the members who provide patient care in the back of the ambulances must have medical training and obtain a license to perform this job. These are known as Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) courses. There are four levels of EMTs: Basic, Advanced, Critical Care (CC) and Paramedic. Each level is more involved than the other; therefore, they require more skills, training, and requirements to practice at that level. They also require continuous trainings and education to keep up to date on the current medical practices. The ambulances that these EMTs and drivers operate are now highly sophisticated, safe, and unique vehicles that allow for life-saving medical care to be provided long before reaching a hospital.
Today, the Ticonderoga Emergency Squad INC. provides emergent medical care to the towns of Ticonderoga, Putnam, and Crown Point, as well as aiding other ambulance services in Hague, Schroon Lake, Moriah and sometimes in the Whitehall area. Our volunteers answer to a call volume of approximately 700 per year in the Ticonderoga district ALONE. We are a non-for-profit organization who operates off of paid and volunteer staff. We also maintain and operate two state of the art ambulances where crews perform up-to-date skills and utilize advanced life-saving equipment (just as you would see in a hospital Emergency Department) when providing care to our patients. The agency is certified to provide advanced life support (ALS) care up to the paramedic level and is certified through the Mountain Lakes Regional EMS Council (based in Queensbury, NY).