HILLSDALE, N.J. — It's time for the Hillsdale Volunteer Ambulance Service to get a new wagon.
The squad's rig is again in need of emergency repairs -- this time because smoke's coming from the dashboard.
The bill to keep the rig road-worthy has already hit nearly $18,000 only this year, Captain John Beatty said.
"It is important for our ambulance service to have a fully functioning rig because we are an asset to the emergency services of the Pascack Valley," Beatty told Daily Voice.
In 2014, HVAS answered 951 emergency calls — split evenly between Hillsdale and other communities in surrounding municipalities — which was the highest ratio of calls to a single ambulance within all of Pascack Valley.
The crew had an 83% handle rate in 2014 with only 190 calls being handled by mutual aid corps. Twenty-five of the calls were handled by paid BLS units from the surrounding hospitals.
"When we are without an ambulance, that increases the chances of taxpayers needing a paid ambulance to respond to their emergency," Beatty said. "When this happens the patient will receive a bill from the hospital for the trip which often is in excess of $1,500."
HVAS has spent upward of $40,000 on rig repairs and replacement parts since taking delivery of it in 2008.
"We had engine parts rebuilt, a lower control box replaced and more just to keep us on the road and helping to save lives," the group wrote on its Facebook page.
"We are not lying when we state we are in dire need of a new ambulance."
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