Residents in the towns of Cohocton and Wayland had their first public review last week of a study to merge emergency medical services across the two towns. Public officials and consultants presented the study Tuesday at the fire hall in Atlanta and Wednesday in Perkinsville.


In 2009, the two towns along with the villages of Wayland and Cohocton and Atlanta-North Cohocton Fire District secured a $25,000 state grant to fund the study.

Residents in the towns of Cohocton and Wayland had their first public review last week of a study to merge emergency medical services across the two towns. Public officials and consultants presented the study Tuesday at the fire hall in Atlanta and Wednesday in Perkinsville.


In 2009, the two towns along with the villages of Wayland and Cohocton and Atlanta-North Cohocton Fire District secured a $25,000 state grant to fund the study.


Cohocton Supervisor Jack Zigenfus emphasized that the study isn’t making any decisions.


“It’s nothing more than to come up with some possible solutions for that our problems were,” he said.


Chief among those problems is low response times, caused largely to the agencies’ inability to get volunteers to turn out to calls.


“We’ve had a drop-off in EMTs,” Mike Walker of the Atlanta-North Cohocton Fire District. “We’re trying to be proactive rather than reactive wo when our community members call for an ambulance, they get an ambulance.”


Kent Greene, senior vice president at Emergency Services Sonsulting International presented four scenarios for consolidation. The most effective of the options in reducing travel time from station to incident involves creating an ambulance district across both towns with a station to be built near Interstate 390 — two options looked at stations north and south of the interstate, with minimal differences. That comes with an annual price tag of $906,286. Other options in the study that separated either town actually reduced the projected average travel times in the study.


Keeping the Town of Wayland in the study is essential to making an ambulance district cost effective (Village of Wayland previously dropped out of the study).


The next step is to include public comments in the study and present a recommendation from the study committee to each agancy. After that, it’s up to the town, village and fire district boards to determine how to proceed. The process is expected to take several months to a few years, and along the way, Zigenfus explained, there will be more public hearings and opportunities to make changes.