In 1934, a small group of firefighters from the Patchogue Fire Department formed a committee to start an independent community ambulance company in Patchogue. As many sick or injured people suffered or died because the local general practitioners were not able to handle the severity of these cases, they needed to have the injured transported quickly and safely. In 1934 after a particularly serious industrial accident which occurred at a local mill the decision was made: to start a community ambulance company which would be operated out of the Patchogue Fire Department Headquarters building but would be totally independent from the fire service. Patchogue was one of the first community ambulance companies on Long Island and boasts a long tradition of providing efficient and rapid emergency medical care to the residents we serve. In fact, Patchogue Ambulance traveled many miles in its first years, answering calls for help as far away as Bellport, Yaphank, Brookhaven, Medford, Bayport, Sayville, Oakdale and all towns in between. As the years went by and other communities started their own squads, the response area was cut back to the geographic areas of; Patchogue Village, the area known as the North Patchogue Fire District, the East Patchogue Protection District, and the Hamlet of Blue Point. The Patchogue Ambulance Company covered this entire area until 1980 when the North Patchogue Fire Department began ambulance service in their district leaving us a response area of about 6 square miles.
Back in the early days as our membership started to grow there was little formal training beyond rudimentary first aid, some of our members took it upon themselves to travel to New York City for special training and brought it back to train the membership. Occasionally they would have a local doctor in to speak on a subject to help train members in subjects like childbirth, bleeding and other life- saving techniques. Back in the beginning the pride of anyone’s fleet would be a shiny new Packard or Cadillac ambulance, complete with oxygen, splints, and a stretcher especially important to our residents as the closest hospital during that time was 20 miles away! Many a night was spent keeping the rigs shinny and presentable to an appreciative public.
In the early 1970’s, new Federal and State laws were enacted creating what we know today as the “Emergency Medical Services”. With this creation came Federal Money in the form of grants and federal mandates to begin to put into practice what was being learned on the battle fields of Vietnam. This of course required new levels of training as well as different types of ambulances and equipment. Embracing the change, Patchogue Ambulance took the lead by having members trained as Emergency Medical Technicians, members spent more than 100 hours of classroom time, followed by rigorous practical and written exams to become some of the first Emergency Medical Technicians in New York State. Soon, gone was the old Cadillac, and in came our first modular ambulance. The new ambulance had many features and equipment necessary for aiding our patients: more room, a demand oxygen delivery system, compartments for first aid supplies, and yes, the OB kit for that occasional mother that just couldn’t wait to get to the hospital!
Perhaps the biggest change in the 70’s was the arrival of advanced life support. Our members were now the "eyes and hands" of the doctor, and were starting intravenous lines, tracing heart rhythms and administering life-saving drugs. This training took an additional 150 hours of training, which has since greatly expanded over time and requires recertification every three years. Truly, we have come a long way and as the technology of pre-hospital care evolves, we continue to keep pace with these advances.
Today’s Patchogue Ambulance Company consists of members of all different levels of medical training answering 3,400+ calls per year, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As our population ages and the numbers of residents grow, we grow also. The spirit of community involvement and participation is alive and well. We pride ourselves on a rich history of providing Emergency Medical Services. Remaining “Best in Class” requires us to constantly overcome many challenges today. We accept the reality of the ever-increasing need for services, limited budgets and burdensome unfunded regulatory mandates. Regardless of the challenge, we daily re-dedicate ourselves to the ideals that a few folks sitting around a table in 1934 set out for us to follow: to answer every call for help with speed, efficiency, and the highest degree of professionalism: to calm the sick, to soothe the injured. In short: to make a difference.
Many medical professionals have gotten their start with us. We need you to be part of that proud history! We welcome new members to become part of our mission and carry on this legacy of saving lives.
We are neighbors helping neighbors. Come…Join Us!
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