Delmar-Bethlehem EMS is a volunteer-led not-for-profit community-based corporation that works in partnership with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office EMS Unit to provide emergency ambulance service for the Town of Bethlehem including the communities of Delmar, Elsmere, Glenmont, North Bethlehem, Selkirk, Slingerlands, and South Bethlehem. Delmar-Bethlehem EMS is the product of the merger of Delmar EMS and Bethlehem EMS, which occurred in 2013. The Voorheesville Area Ambulance Service merged into Delmar-Bethlehem EMS during 2018.
Delmar-Bethlehem EMS used our six ambulances to respond to 3,840 calls for assistance in 2018. The agency uses a hybrid staffing model to meet the needs of the community. Volunteers put in more than 15,000 volunteer hours during 2018 and more than 98,000 hours over the last six years. The agency is predominantly volunteer from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am every night. Approximately 75 volunteer Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Advanced EMTs, Paramedics, and ambulance drivers respond to calls for medical assistance. Between the hours of 6:00 am and 6:00 pm, paid EMTs from the Albany County Sheriff’s Office EMS Unit supplement the volunteers by staffing three Delmar-Bethlehem EMS ambulances.
Each 911 call in our community is answered with a dual response — a Delmar-Bethlehem EMS ambulance and an Albany County Sheriff’s Office EMS Unit Paramedic. The Albany County Sheriff’s Office stations at least two paramedics in the Town of Bethlehem 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The two agencies join together to provide care on calls requiring advanced life support. Delmar-Bethlehem EMS is also an advanced life support (AEMT) agency.
Delmar-Bethlehem EMS is supported by a combination of donations to an annual fund drive, billing revenue, and tax funds provided by the Town of Bethlehem Ambulance District. The total ambulance tax paid by residents to support Delmar-Bethlehem EMS has been gradually reduced by more than 50 percent since 2012. A recent study of the manpower and administrative value and savings created by Delmar-Bethlehem EMS showed the creation of $4.5 million in savings in the five years from 2013 to 2017 through the use of volunteers and creating efficiencies in the EMS system.
Delmar-Bethlehem EMS and the Albany County Sheriff’s Office EMS Unit are innovators in health care quality and technology. We were among the first agencies in the area to implement a paperless electronic medical record. We have implemented the LUCAS 2 automated CPR compression system to improve the care of persons suffering cardiac arrest. During 2018 Delmar-Bethlehem EMS made significant investments in improving patient safety with the purchase of stretcher mounts that meet increased safety standards and state-of-the-art ambulance decontamination technology.
Delmar-Bethlehem EMS was awarded the 2012 EMS Agency of the Year for the Hudson-Mohawk Valleys.