BVFD Rescue Squad UPDATE

The BVFD phased out its transporting ambulance service on June 1, 2012 and introducde a basic life support, first responder (BLS-FR) service.

State law requires that a state-certified emergency technician (EMT) ride on the ambulance when transporting a patient to the hospital. A study of calls over the past 2 years have shown a significant increase in "no-responses" for EMS calls due to an EMT not being available, and our ambulance did not respond. In each case, a commercial ambulance service--Finger Lakes Ambulance--responded to the incident and provided transport.

Of 99 EMS calls in 2011, Finger Lakes Ambulance was the transporting ambulance 66 times. These calls included requests for emergency medical service, fire stand-bys, motor vehicle accidents and law enforcement stand-bys. In 2011, our ambulance transported patients 33 times, or about 1/3 of the total number of EMS calls.

No-responses are due to a general decline in volunteer members, particularly those trained at the EMT level. Since the current NYS EMT training course involves 156 hours of study and skills practice, we do not foresee an increase in the number of volunteer members available to receive this training.

Another factor is our ambulance vehicle: our Ford/Med-Tec ambulance was purchased in 1992 and while it is still in service, it is overdue for replacement. Given the cost of a new ambulance (approximately $175,000) and the increase in no-reponses, it is difficult to justify the economics of replacing the ambulance with either a new or used vehicle.

The shortage in volunteer EMTs has been a problem for several years. To address this situation, we met with Finger Lakes Ambulance (FLA) in 2008 to put in place a daytime automatic mutual aid agreement, where FLA is automatically dispatched to all EMS calls within our district. Early in 2011 this agreement was increased to 24/7 due to volunteer EMTs being unavailable or performing other emergency-related duties.

With all those factors in mind, and the fact that FLA has repeatedly demonstrated timely response of a transporting ambulance to the Town of Bristol, the BVFD has made the difficult decision to transition from a transporting ambulance service to a BLS-FR service.

This transition will increase the number of volunteers available to render more-immediate first aid. Presently, about 20 BVFD members have current First Aid, CPR, AED and Oxygen Administration training and about 7 members have been trained as NYS Certified First Responders. These members can respond immediately to EMS calls without the need for an EMT to be present.

We believe that this new service will reduce, if not eliminate, the risk of a no-response situation and allow the BVFD to fulfill its mission of providing prompt emergency medical service to Bristol residents whenever they need it.


BVFD Rescue Squad - Founded 1975

Rescue Squad History

In the fall of 1974 five BVFD members enrolled in and completed a Medical Emergency Technician (MET) course at Geneva General Hospital. These members were Caryl Favro, Mary Gliewe, Jean Lutz, Richard Holland and Tony Burgess. Clarence Bidwell also completed a MET course at Monroe Community College.

The first ambulance was a 1968 Ford van purchased from Joe Spencer. George Lutz put a new engine into the van at Larry Bilodeau’s garage. It was parked at the Lutz residence for about six months until the new fire house at 4350 Route 64 was completed.

Calls were dispatched by calling the fire department telephone number 229-5333, or the Ontario County Sheriff’s office at 394-4560. Most (but not all) members had Plectron home receivers which were alerted by the Fire Dispatcher. A telephone alerting system or “phone tree” was also used to confirm the alarms, and alert those without monitors.

Original members of the BVFD Rescue Squad:

Elane Barend American Red Cross First Aid
Ray Barend American Red Cross First Aid
Clarence Bidwell EMT
Anthony Burgess EMT, Squad Captain
Walter Dutcher
Al Favro
Caryl Favro EMT
John Gfeller American Red Cross First Aid, Fire Chief
Mary Gliewe EMT
Betty Graupman American Red Cross First Aid
Bruce Harter American Red Cross First Aid
Debbie Harter RN
Dick Holland EMT
Beverly Houseman   RN
Janet Little RN
George Lutz American Red Cross First Aid
Jean Lutz EMT
Sharon Miller American Red Cross First Aid
Tom Miller
Don Sanford American Red Cross First Aid
Patricia Sanford EMT Trainer
Joe Spencer American Red Cross First Aid
Danny Thomas EMT
Linda Trickey LPN, EMT Trainer

1975 Startup activities

Here is a timeline from 1975 illustrating the activities of the brand new BVFD Rescue Squad.

In 1976 the ’68 ambulance was replaced by a used 1969 Cadillac ambulance, bought from the East Bloomfield-Holcomb Fire Department for $800. In July 1980 yet another ambulance was displayed in the Bristol Firemans Parade, a 1977 Dodge van type ambulanced that was purchased from Greece Volunteer Ambulance for $6,000 and was designated A-191. This in turn was replaced by a 1985 Ford ambulance featuring a large on-board oxygen tank and dual fuel tanks.

In 1992 a new Ford Medtech diesel ambulance was purchased, and the ’85 was converted to squad vehicle 161. After a few years of service 161 was taken out of service, stripped of all equipment and insignia, and sold to a masonry contractor.

The Medtech A-191 is still in service today.