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News stories tagged with "emergency-services"

The North Country's traditional above-ground electrical grid is vulnerable in winter weather. Photo: Joanna Richards
The North Country's traditional above-ground electrical grid is vulnerable in winter weather. Photo: Joanna Richards

New York creates $40M energy technology contest

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York state will hold a $40 million competition designed to spur research and development of independent power grids that would allow local communities to keep the lights on during power failures.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the New York Prize competition, which would award funding to companies or utilities that suggest the best ways to create so-called "microgrids." Microgrids are small power systems that are able to function independently when storms or other emergencies knock out electricity.  Go to full article
Adirondack Health has proposed converting its around-the-clock emergency room in Lake Placid to a 12-hour urgent care center as a cost-cutting move. Photo: Mark Kurtz
Adirondack Health has proposed converting its around-the-clock emergency room in Lake Placid to a 12-hour urgent care center as a cost-cutting move. Photo: Mark Kurtz

Adirondack Health to decide fate of Lake Placid ER tonight

The fate of Lake Placid's emergency room will be decided at a board meeting tonight in Saranac Lake.

The board of trustees for Adirondack Health will decide whether to maintain the Lake Placid facility as a 24-7 ER, or to convert it into a part-time "urgent care facility."  Go to full article
Bicknell's Thrush. Photo: Larry Master
Bicknell's Thrush. Photo: Larry Master

Emergency Adk tower plan worries bird experts

A plan to build and upgrade emergency communications towers on four summits in the Adirondack Park is sparking new controversy because of the possible impact on a rare songbird called the Bicknell's thrush. The thrush is a "species of concern" in New York, because of its dwindling population and its small, alpine breeding area.

Last winter, the Adirondack Park Agency set strict rules for the construction project, designed to limit any impacts on the songbird. But facing pressure from local leaders, the APA decided earlier this month to scrap those restrictions.

The last-minute change is drawing criticism from scientists and conservation groups that study Bicknell's thrush.  Go to full article
Warren County Emergency Medical Services conducts an emergency evacuation drill at Glens Falls Hospital. Photo via <a href="http://warrencountyny.gov/ems/images/drill07_2.jpg">Warren County Emergency Medical Services</a>
Warren County Emergency Medical Services conducts an emergency evacuation drill at Glens Falls Hospital. Photo via Warren County Emergency Medical Services

EMS volunteer numbers plummet in Warren, Washington Cos

The number of volunteers in the region's emergency squads continues to plummet. As volunteers leave, paid staff often has to fill the gap. That's an added financial burden.

Officials in Warren and Washington counties said last week that, unless something is done to boost the number of volunteers, many of the squads in small, rural communities won't survive.  Go to full article
A wrecked home in the town of Keene. Photo: Susan Waters
A wrecked home in the town of Keene. Photo: Susan Waters

Adirondack foundation a conduit for Irene relief funds

Following last year's Tropical Storm Irene, a community foundation based in Lake Placid stepped forward to serve as the clearing house for private philanthropy, helping residents and businesses in Keene and Jay devastated by floodwaters from the AuSable River.

To date, the Adirondack Community Trust reports that it has received $800,000 in gifts from more than 1,320 donors from across the country. All of that money has been distributed so far, and donations are still rolling in.

Through partnerships with the Keene Flood Recovery Fund and Jay Irene Flood Relief Fund, ACT has awarded 204 grants to 104 homes, 14 businesses and four civic organizations.  Go to full article
Volunteer firefighters at work in Carthage. NCPR file photo
Volunteer firefighters at work in Carthage. NCPR file photo

Emergency services suffering from lack of volunteers

Questions were raised a few weeks ago about emergency services in the north country when a local volunteer department was late responding to a fire in the town of LeRay in Jefferson County. The mutual aid system was activated and a nearby department responded to the blaze; fortunately, no one was hurt. But, as Joanna Richards reports, the incident did highlight a persistent and growing problem among the north country's primarily volunteer emergency services: a lack of manpower.  Go to full article
Air Methods Mercy Air Bell 412. Photo: Alan Radecki
Air Methods Mercy Air Bell 412. Photo: Alan Radecki

Medical air service returning to the North Country

It's been five years since the North Country had emergency air service. But that's about to change. Air Methods Corporation plans to begin operating medical helicopters in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties in June. The company is opening new air medical bases in Watertown and Potsdam.

The military previously provided air ambulance service in the region, through a program at Fort Drum called the MAST mission. Since it was removed, Fort Drum health officials say there have been more than 500 emergency cases in the region that qualified for air flight, but weren't able to get it.

Fort Drum has been working with the North Country EMS Program Agency to secure med-flights. Ann Smith, the agency director, says the new air medical bases in Watertown and Potsdam will each be staffed with four pilots, eight medical crew members, and one mechanic. The service will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Julie Grant reports.  Go to full article
Police officers cannot talk to highway road crews right now. These challenges are something we face on a day-to-day basis.

Jefferson County plans emergency communications system upgrades

Federal workers reportedly complained about the inability to communicate during Irene, and following the recent earthquake, when cell phone networks went down. According to the Washington Post, many felt they were left in the dark, and agency leaders couldn't disseminate key information.

The Federal Communications Commission and wireless carriers report that 65-hundred cell sites were down along the East Coast during Hurricane Irene. Forty-four percent of Vermont's cell sites were down. The Post reports that confusion and a lack of coordination has federal employees worried that the government is still woefully unprepared for emergency situations.

Here in the North Country, Jefferson County is planning big improvements to its emergency communications system. The legislature just named a committee to research options and report back to lawmakers on the issue. Joanna Richards has more.  Go to full article

Fire dispute near resolution

Resolution of a bitter dispute over fire and rescue contracts between the Village of Saranac Lake and three surrounding towns may finally be nearing an end. At a special Friday night meeting, the village and town boards reached a compromise on more than a half-dozen issues the towns wanted addressed before they agreed to sign new contracts. As Chris Knight reports, fire department officials say they're relieved.  Go to full article

Fire contract dispute smoulders in Saranac lake

Three towns in the Adirondacks have been without full fire and rescue coverage since the start of the New Year. Officials from Harrietstown, Brighton and Santa Clara - all in Franklin County - have refused to sign new contracts with the Village of Saranac Lake. Some of the towns have criticized the village's decision to switch to an assessment-based formula for fire contracts while others have accused the village of failing to negotiate in good faith. As Chris Knight reports, local firefighters have been put in the middle of the dispute.  Go to full article

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