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Ambulance service helps out in power outage

By Katie Collins
July 6, 2011

ELDRED, NY — Members of the American Legion Ambulance Service in the Town of Highland would like people to know that their headquarters, located at 17 Collins Road in Eldred, is open to Highland residents during all emergencies. The captain of the corps, “We’re here in emergencies,” ambulance captain Pat Friedrich said.

During the power outage two weeks ago, more than 20 people used the services that the corps provides. Water was one of the biggest resource people took advantage of, for flushing their home toilets and to take showers at the center.
Electricity is another. A woman went to the center and was able to use her nebulizer. Friedrich said the corps loaned her an oxygen tank and showed her how to run the nebulizer off of that tank.

Looking ahead as a respite in the storm, Friedrich said the center will be stocking food that has a 20-year shelf live, like soups and powdered milk. The center could house approximately 30 people, and provide cots and blowup mattresses. If need be, the ambulances could be parked outdoors and because the floors are heated, some could sleep there. Friedrich said rather than food spoiling, people could bring some food to cook at the center.

The town and the ambulance’s insurance company have authorized the center to be an evacuation center. A nonprofit organization, Friedrich said, the service only does one mailing fundraiser a year to all Highland residents. Friedrich said, “As bad as the economy is, I guess people really love us because we did quite well on last year’s.” The corps was able to buy two new rigs because people have left part of their estates to the corps.

In addition to the services, the corps is an American Heart Association center where people can be trained to learn CPR and take blood pathogen courses.

Friedrich said the members of the corps are like an extended family and she “lives, sleeps, EMS.”

Friedrich can be reached at the center, 845/557-8915 or at home, 845/557-8101.