UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) — Volunteer ambulance companies are facing staffing shortages across the country, and Central Oneida County Volunteer Ambulance Corps is no exception.
“Our volunteerism has dropped significantly especially since the pandemic,” Jenna Rosky Lieutenant, QA/QI Officer explained.
The corps which was established in 1970 was originally a 100% volunteer agency, now they run at about 85% paid employment. Despite the massive drop in volunteers, they have continued with their 24-hour coverage.
“We still are able to commit three ambulances 24/7 with full ALS coverage to our communities,” Rosky said. “So it’s nothing our communities have to worry about but we would like to see more volunteers.”
The drop in volunteers has revealed to the corps the need to make the ambulance corps a career agency vs a volunteer agency. While they work to make that a reality they encourage people to volunteer for a variety of reasons, one important reason for Rosky is the camaraderie and the “family” feel that comes with being a part of the corps.
“We do a lot of lunches together,” Rosky said. “We do a lot of dinners together, we have family movie nights, we just come together as a family so much here we have people come out and hang with us even when they are not on shift.”
The main headquarters is located in Clark Mills, and their other two locations are in Whitesboro and the Town of Marshal. You must be 18 or older to apply, and for those between the ages of 14-18 you can sign up to be a part of their Junior Membership Program.