Officials from the Town of Niagara, Mercy Flight Western New York and Niagara County gathered for a press conference Monday morning to discuss the new, five-year ambulance services contract between the town and the company.
"I have every confidence in Mercy and would like to take the opportunity to thank them for coming to our aid during this very tenuous time," Town of Niagara Supervisor Lee S. Wallace said. "As most of you know, our contract was terminated after a 30-day notice by Rural-Metro/AMR. We received a letter on the 14th of July and that termination date was yesterday, last night."
During the press conference, first responders from the town's police department and Town of Niagara Active Hose Fire Co. stood alongside Mercy Flight and EMS crewmembers.
"This is a very exciting day for us in the operations side of Mercy Flight and Mercy EMS, and its possible only because of our crewmembers - our crewmembers who tirelessly come to work every day and give the extra effort," said Donald Trzepacz Jr., director of medical operations at Mercy EMS. "That effort was shown in the recent days as we built the operation and brought the ambulances and the equipment to the Town of Niagara. We began operations last night at midnight, taking a first call with the fire department shortly thereafter."
Town of Niagara Supervisor Lee S. Wallace speaks at a press conference on the new contract between the town and Mercy Flight Western New York.
Doug Baker, Mercy Flight president and founder, speaks to the public at Monday's press conference.
Doug Baker, Mercy Flight president and founder, said, "All we have ... is our reputation. And it's so important to all of us that we don't let you down, let the community down. So that's our goal."
He added, "Something many of you may not realize is Mercy Flight and Mercy EMS does not go out and hustle business. We don't have anybody out there trying to change a community or bring us in to do the work. Every place we've gone ... has been because we've been asked to do so. And that makes it pretty special. So on behalf of our whole gang, who I'm very, very proud of, we thank you for this opportunity."
Trzepacz said the Niagara County Department of Emergency Management and the Niagara County Legislature requested aid from the company to service the county. Thus, Mercy EMS recently submitted an application for a countywide certificate of need to the Regional EMS Council.
"That has been received by the regional council," Trzepacz said. "They are currently evaluating that and, in the future, we hope that they will approve (the) application so we can provide service to the county, as they need."
Overall, "It is truly our goal to simply help," Trzepacz said. "We are not looking to push out any other ambulance services; we are not looking to necessarily compete with any other ambulance services. But, the county has shown to us that there is a need and the unavailability of resources at times and so forth."
The famous Mercy Flight Western New York helicopter.