Police/FireThe Examiner

State Grant Provides Easier Lift for Chappaqua Ambulance Volunteers

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Chappaqua Volunteer Ambulance Corps (CVAC) members gathered with elected officials last Friday at its headquarters after receiving a $100,000 state grant that enabled the purchase of two mechanical stretchers.

A state grant has helped to make the tasks for Chappaqua Volunteer Ambulance Corps (CVAC) volunteers just a little less back-breaking.

The grant, which came through last year, has helped equip CVAC’s two ambulances with the motorized Stryker stretcher, which can place a person who is on a stretcher and needs to be transported to the hospital into the vehicle without attending members having to do the lifting.

The $100,000 State and Municipal Facilities (SAM) grant was obtained by state Sen. Peter Harckham and paid for more than 80 percent of the cost for the new stretchers. New Castle Councilman Jeremy Saland connected the corps with Harckham in hopes that state money could be found to help defray the expense.

“We had to get the new ones and they cost an extraordinary amount of money, about $120,000,” Marc Hirschfield, CVAC’s captain, said of the stretcher. “Through our state senator, we were able to get a grant to cover most of it. We appreciate very much your efforts.”

Last Friday afternoon, Hirschfield and other CVAC members along with local elected officials gathered at the ambulance corps’ location on North Greeley Avenue to provide a demonstration of one of the new electrified stretchers, which can lift up to about 700 pounds.

Since it was installed in the ambulances in January, there was one call that required the ambulance corps to lift and transport someone they responded to that was more than 400 pounds. Once on the stretcher, it lifted the person into the back of the vehicle with no difficulties, Hirschfield said.

Harckham said volunteer emergency responders such as CVAC provide a crucial service to the community and anytime he can support them he’s happy to do so.

“I’m thrilled when I have an opportunity to invest in projects like this, and we call it an investment because it really is an investment in you,” Harckham said to CVAC members. “So we’re thrilled to access money like this and support our first responders.”

First Lt. Norm Jen provides a demonstration of the new Stryker stretcher, which can lift a person mechanically into the back of an ambulance.

Second Lt. Norm Jen said if CVAC didn’t get the assistance from the state it would have been difficult for it to pay for the expense. Much of its budget comes from private donations.

“That $120,000 bill would be huge if we had to fund it ourselves, so without the help of the state, we would have been in pretty big trouble,” Jen said.

Town Deputy Supervisor Victoria Tipp said the grant for CVAC just doesn’t benefit the corps and its members but the community as well.

“There’s so much the town budget can do and these efforts are so important and I want to thank the volunteers of CVAC,” she said. “They’re here for us seven days a week, 24 hours a day every day, and they certainly save lives.”

CVAC serves most of Chappaqua, roughly half of Millwood as well as portions of Mount Kisco, Pleasantville and Ossining. Last year, it responded to about 890 calls, Hirschfield said.

“As grateful as I am that I could connect our volunteers with Sen. Harckham, who put in the time and effort to secure a much-needed $100,000 grant for two new stretchers, I am even more thankful knowing we can count on our selfless volunteers and Sen. Harckham to step up for New Castle when our residents need them most,” Saland said.

The grant was the first of two pieces of good news for CVAC during the past year. It was recently named Westchester EMS Agency of the Year by Westchester County.





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