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Canton Rescue Squad applies for expansion certification


CANTON — The Canton Rescue Squad Inc. has applied for a certificate of need to expand its ambulance territory to the towns of Clare, Hermon and Russell and parts of DeKalb and Pierrepont.

The squad’s president, Peter D. Feickert, said although the squad has been answering calls in these areas, it needs the proper certification to continue. “In some ways, it’s an expansion in name only,” he said. “Our territory is the town of Canton and over the years, that has evolved to the point where we are actually answering a lot of calls in areas outside of our territory because of the need for mutual aid or advanced life support.”

Mr. Feickert said that some of the areas, such as Russell, do not have an advanced life support service so they have to call Canton Rescue volunteers to respond to those emergencies.

“As there’s been more and more of that activity, the state has become more and more concerned about us operating outside of our territory,” he said. “If you’re going to an area on a routine, expected or predictable basis, then you should have an operating certificate for that area; and who knows what they would do to enforce that, and we can’t just cut the lifeline to the folks in that area.”

Mr. Feickert said the squad sent the request to the North Country Regional Emergency Medical Services Council, which then set up a public hearing on the plan. The hearing will be at 7 p.m. Aug. 28 at the Canton Fire Hall, 77 Riverside Drive. After receiving input from the community, the council will vote on the expansion plan and, if it’s passed, send it to state authorities for final approval.

“We’re just waiting for the public hearing,” Mr. Feickert said. “We don’t have any way of influencing how that’s going to go. We don’t think of it as an expansion of our territory; we think of it as ensuring that we will be able to continue providing service to the area rescue squads and their patients that we have in the past.”

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