WESTFIELD - Alstar, a private emergency medical transport service with a large Western New York footprint, is seeking an increased role in the Village and Town of Westfield.
This was revealed during the Village of Westfield Board of Fire Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, June 4. Alstar and village fire department representatives met recently, Assistant Fire Chief Dave Davies told the commissioners.
"Everybody was professional on both ends," Davies said.
Davies added Alstar wants "a unit here." Commission Chairman Barry Underwood expressed concern about "ambulance chasing," leading Davies to comment Alstar, "would give written assurances" about not unduly competing with the fire department's medical emergency responses.
During public comment, former chief Ed Kneer said Alstar could have a role in reducing the fire department's medical responders' frustration caused by what he characterized as false alarms particularly at "26 Cass," the address of Absolut Care of Westfield.
"They just don't want to handle the problem themselves down there," Kneer said.
Chairman Underwood agreed.
"I just feel they're wearing you guys out," he said.
Sixteen of the 45 medical calls in May were runs to the Absolut facility, according to department records.
Some of the Absolut requests are not urgent or emergencies, according to fire department sources. Responders are sometimes asked to wait while the subject of the call finishes a meal, according to Kneer.
Former chief Cliff Brown suggested Alstar could take these kind of calls.
Former village mayor Dave Carr said another problem is caused by the requirement that a certified Emergency Medical Technician, or EMT, must ride on every call for medical help. This sometimes slows the response to the detriment of the sick or injured, Carr said.
"As far as I'm concerned it's ridiculous," Carr said.