HOW WE STARTED
We started with you.
In 1962, when Dobbs Ferry Community Hospital could no longer provide ambulance service to the surrounding communities, dedicated members of the community including Gene Downey, Larry Cabot and Vic Grutzner took action and formed the Ardsley-Secor Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
ASVAC is a non-profit organization which does not receive any money from Village taxes, nor do we receive any assistance from the Village of Ardsley. The majority of our budget is supported by donations from the community and by our third-party billing system for ambulance transports. We're also profoundly lucky to receive grants and donations from larger institutions, like the Thomas & Agnes Carvel Estate, which donated funds for the purchase of one of our ambulances.
WHAT WE DO
We take being a good neighbor to heart.
Who are the ASVAC members?
We are your neighbors and community members who live or work in the Ardsley vicinity.
We also have a strong Junior membership program for high school students and college members who ride with us when they are home from school. Some of us joined 6 months ago and some have been members for 20, 30 or 40 years. We are proud of our diverse membership with individuals from all walks of life and occupations.
Is everyone a volunteer? And what motivates them?
Yes, we are roughly 50 volunteers. For the most part, we’re all looking for a way to play a part in making the community safe and helping people during their time of greatest need. It’s a great way to give something back in a team-driven atmosphere.
How often do people go out on calls?
Everyone has their own comfort level. Many of us ride 4-6 times per month. Some might be 2 or 3, and then there are others who might ride 20 times. You might ride 10 times in one month and 2 in the next. Everyone is in a unique situation, and we accept that people will contribute when they can. While we are flexible, we like to see folks riding a minimum of 3 or 4 calls/month.
How much activity do you get?
It’s quite variable. We answer about 700 calls/year. Sometimes we get 5 calls in a day whereas other times there are no calls for 3 days.
I don't have any EMS experience. How would I fit in?
We teach all the skills you need at the corp, and very few of us had any experience coming in. There are regular training sessions, plus easy access to one-on-one refresher lessons.
What’s the on-boarding process like?
There’s an initial interview with the ASVAC officers, and a bit of paperwork in the beginning. The state also mandates proficiency testing of certain safety protocols. There are training videos on our website and then ‘live’ training. All new members take a 2 hour CPR class, which requires yearly recertification. We encourage one-on-ones to learn and practice ambulance skills. You’ll receive door/alarm access, a member ID and various log-in access. You will be able to respond to calls right away, and crew members will be there to support you.
Will ambulance training benefit me in life in general?
Yes! Knowing CPR is hugely beneficial to everyone, as is being able to control bleeding, respond to stroke, choking, shock, altered mental status/overdose, etc. Training in emergency response also improves your situational awareness and helps you to keep calm and effective in stressful situations.
I have to work during the day and could probably only help on weekends or occasional weekends. Does that help?
Yes, everyone has a unique availability, which allows the system to work. Emergency calls happen at all hours of the day or night and we value the fact that people can cover in different time periods.
How do people hear about calls? Do I have to cover a ‘shift’ and stay in the building?
We don’t have any set shifts to cover days and evenings. We get dispatched via a phone app, text message, siren and a one-way radio called a Plectron. If you’re available to ride, you respond on the app and others can see if there’s a crew coming together. We drive to the station and leave together in the ambulance about 5-8 minutes or so after the call goes out. To cover overnights (midnight to 6 AM), we divide the members up into 6 crews that rotate coverage every 2 or 3 weeks. Typically, members will end up covering 4 nights/month and it’s not unusual to get an active night call about once/month. We also swap coverage freely if someone has a personal conflict and can’t cover their night shift.
How long does a typical call take to answer?
Probably a minimum of 45 minutes with the longer calls usually about 1.5 hours round trip. It's possible a call could take 2 hours, but that’s quite unusual.
What kind of commitment do you require of your members?
A few hours, with new members getting an initial training on the ambulance gear and protocols we follow to keep everyone safe. Each month we have a general meeting (1 hour) and a training session (1 hour). Each member usually covers about 4 overnights/month. We like to see folks riding a minimum of 3 or 4 times/month, but the more members can ride, the better their skills become.
What kind of things do you see on calls?
The calls are quite variable, and often consist of senior citizens that have fallen as well as individuals with chronic ailments. We also cover stroke or cardiac calls, as well as traffic accidents, nose-bleeds and twisted ankles. Last year we delivered a baby!
If I got involved, what kind of role would I play?
New members get trained first on how to use equipment like automated stretchers, stair chair lift apparatus and medical equipment such as suction devices and oxygen delivery. They serve to support their team members in overcoming physical challenges and getting patients moved safely into the ambulance. Often the next step is to learn the safety protocols to drive the ambulances. Many members become Emergency Medical Responders and finally others get the 4-month Emergency Medical Technician training, the tuition fees of which are paid for by ASVAC.
Is it scary answering emergency calls?
Not really, because we are well trained and are never alone. We support the police and other emergency agencies, such as the fire department and Greenburgh paramedics. ASVAC members and officers are always available in a pinch and we have access to the medical director at Dobbs Ferry Hospital 24/7.
Is there a ‘social’ aspect to ASVAC?
Yes, there are plenty of opportunities to build camaraderie. If you come by the building, you’ll often find a small gathering. We always have coffee and snacks, do a lot of impromptu training, and reminisce about our last calls. We frequently bring in breakfast or lunch or sometimes just land in the building with laptops to get some personal work done.
Where does the money come from to run the organization?
ASVAC receives no tax-payer funding or financial support from the Village. ASVAC relies on 3 sources of revenue: we bill patient’s insurance when available, we solicit contributions from the community, and we apply for federal, state or local grants for special projects.
I know this is a volunteer group, but are there any financial benefits?
Members with five years of service receive a 10% reduction in property taxes. Members can participate in an award annuity that is similar to a pension. Members also are allowed to join the Greenburgh pool at Anthony F. Veteran Park.