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Tri-Community Ambulance unveils new vehicle

WHEATFIELD – Tri-Community Ambulance Service will dedicate a new ambulance during an open house May 22 at the St. Johnsburg Fire Company hall, 7165 Ward Road, Wheatfield.

Tri-Community is a completely volunteer emergency medical service organization that has operated for 60 years, serving parts of Wheatfield, Cambria, Lewiston and the Tuscarora Indian Reservation.

Philip R. Richardson, chairman of the event, said that the ambulance dedication ceremony will be held at 1 p.m., in the midst of the open house, scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. The event is being held to mark National EMS Week, which stands for Emergency Medical Services.

Tri-Community now has three ambulances and a “fly car” in its vehicle fleet. The company’s headquarters are located at 6276 Ward Road, and last year its members logged more than 24,000 hours of work on a total of 1,411 rescue calls.

“We’re looking for members, because we are the busiest EMS organization in Niagara County,” said Richardson, an emergency medical technician and life member and past president of the company.

Information about joining the company will be available at the St. Johnsburg event. Tri-Community currently has 103 names on its membership rolls.

The new ambulance, which cost $200,000, arrived in the Tri-Community garage May 3. It was paid for entirely by Tri-Community.

“We don’t get any money from the towns,” Richardson said. “We are 100 percent dependent on insurance reimbursements.”

The new vehicle is replacing a 2005 ambulance that has about 130,000 miles on its odometer. “It’s starting to show its age. EMS is not easy on vehicles,” Richardson said.

The other two ambulances were bought together in 2009. The fly car, a 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe, is used for rapid response to calls by additional emergency personnel.

In addition, Upstate New York Transplant Service will be holding a blood drive during the May 22 open house. Appointments can be scheduled in advance by calling 512-7940, although walk-ins are allowed.

Tri-Community has set a goal of 63 blood donors, in honor of the 63 EMS workers from New York State who are listed by the National EMS Memorial.

Blood donors also will be entered in a raffle for prizes.