FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 29, 2023
Kingston Fire Department Will Provide Ambulance Service Beginning January 1, 2024
KINGSTON, NY – Mayor Steven T. Noble and the Kingston Fire Department are announcing that beginning on January 1st at 12:01am, the Kingston Fire Department will start responding to ambulance calls in the City of Kingston.
Empress, a third-party company, had previously provided ambulance services in Kingston, taking over for Mobile Life in July of 2023. However, in response to Empress’ requirement to enter into a paid contract where City taxpayers would be required to contribute over $500,000-1,000,000 per year for service beginning on January 1, the City put together a plan to provide immediate coverage while plans and discussions continue with the Common Council.
“It is critical that we continue to provide immediate lifesaving ambulance transport services to our residents,” said Mayor Noble. “In the last six months, the Kingston Fire Department has responded to over 100 emergency medical calls with our own ambulance due to a lack of private ambulance availability in our City. That fact, combined with a request to enter into a six-figure contract with the private entity, forced us to look at our own resources and what type of plan we could put together to best serve our residents and visitors. I commend Chief Rea and the members of the Kingston Fire Department for their willingness to work with me to get this program up and running so quickly.”
“The members of the Kingston Fire Department have always been there for residents who are having medical issues, arriving in approximately 3 minutes and now, with KFD assisting in ambulance transport, our residents will be able to depend on our department to help get them to life-saving care at Health Alliance Hospital. I want to thank all the members of KFD for their assistance and willingness to work with the Mayor and I on setting up this program” said Kingston Fire Department Chief Chris Rea.
“The focus should always be on the people. This solution ensures that residents will receive the quick attention and care they need and deserve during what is likely a vulnerable situation. The Common Council stands ready to work with the Mayor’s Office and KFD in the months ahead to guarantee this solution is the best we can offer Kingston” said Common Council President Andrea Shaut.
Beginning in early January, the City of Kingston will have one Advanced Life Support (ALS) unit and one Basic Life Support Unit (BLS) operating in the City of Kingston out of Central Station. The Mobile Mental Health Ambulance will serve as a back-up BLS unit. The Mobile Mental Health Program will continue to run with dedicated staff Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm. Our emergency medical transport service will be provided to all those who live, work, or visit the City of Kingston regardless of whether they have insurance or the ability to pay.
In October, Mayor Noble and Chief presented to the Kingston Common Council (watch here) regarding the situation of ambulances in the City of Kingston. Ambulance discussions will continue with the Common Council in January and February related to additional staffing and insurance billing services for this program.
If you are having a medical emergency, call 911 and the Kingston Fire Department will be there to assist you.