Imagine being ill or injured and having to be transported to the hospital in a hearse? Prior to the formation of the Honeoye Falls Emergency Relief Squad and the purchase of the first Honeoye Falls ambulance a hearse belonging to Merton Kays Funeral home not only transported the deceased to their funeral but also transported patients to the hospital.
On February 26, 1964 a group of 5 Honeoye Falls fireman, R. Lake, F. Grace, D. Bock, G. Schenkel and W. Tenny attended a village board meeting to discuss the need for an ambulance squad for the village. July 27th 1964 the village approved formation of the Honeoye Falls Fire Department Emergency Relief Squad and the purchase of a 1964 Cadillac ambulance for $9,595.
The first ambulance squad consisted of many familiar village names such as S. Caves, R. Warren, J. Driscoll, T. Alfieri, R. Moffitt, K, Spohr, R. Grievson, E. Harnish Sr., L. Michel, R. Nichols, A. Snoddy, C. Baker, D. Ripley, H. Ball, M. Jennejohn, L. Tripp, R. Bock, and R. Kennedy. To be an ambulance squad member you were required to be a member of the Honeoye Falls Fire Department, hold a current advanced first aid card and had to be 21 years of age, if married, or 25 years if unmarried.
The brand new ambulance arrived on August 20th 1964 and was housed at the Village Hall on East St. Seven days later at 1:05 pm when this new vehicle was in the process of having lettering painted on the doors the first call came in. With the paint still wet Bill Caves and Ken Spohr sprang into action. The first patient transport was to Geneva hospital. Unlike today very little care was provided on route to the hospital, the ambulance served mainly as transportation. Upon return to the village stones were picked out of the new paint and the lettering was completed.
The first six months of service brought 62 emergency response calls within the village of Honeoye Falls.
The town of Mendon Fire District did not have an ambulance squad but had a need for such a service. The town of Mendon approached the Honeoye Falls Village Board on Oct 2nd 1964 about the possibility of sharing ambulance coverage with Honeoye Falls Fire District. One year later ambulance coverage was granted to the Mendon Fire District. A problem was discovered with the Town of Mendon’s contract in January of 1966 and it took a special act of congress of the State of New York to allow a fire department ambulance to contract services outside of their fire district. The bill cleared the Senate on May 18, 1966 and Honeoye Falls and Mendon entered into a contract for ambulance services.
The original Cadillac ambulance served the district for 5 years before being replaced with a 1969 Cadillac. In 1975 a Dodge van was purchased, providing the community with 2 ambulances. The number of 5619 was assigned to the new van; this number is still used today.
In 1975 expansion of the Fire Hall, made room for the ambulance’s to be housed alongside the fire trucks on Monroe St.
In 1979 it was approved by the squad that members of the ambulance did not have to be members of the fire department, and would participate only in ambulance activities.
In 1981 the first Horton ambulance was purchased this vehicle was similar to the ones we have today. The large box gave the medics more room to move around to administer patient care. By the time the Honeoye Falls Fire department reached its 100 year anniversary, the volume of calls in Honeoye Falls and Mendon had reached over 325 per year. The ambulance squad had grown to 37 members, 11 of which held an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) license. Training was becoming more important due to the fact that more lives were being saved by new techniques and procedures that were being instituted on scene and on route to the hospital. Throughout the history of the Honeoye Falls Ambulance our local village and town doctors have played key roles assisting in the training of the ambulance crew members.
In 1987 the Ambulance applied for and received New York State Certification to provide Advance Life Support (ALS) services. The original ALS department consisted of Pat & Phil Casper, M. Shepard, K. Bushman, S. Hume, R. Evans and M. Marchase.
As the community grew and members and calls increased space became an issue at the fire hall on Monroe St. With 4 usable vehicle bays and 7 double stacked vehicles, 600 calls per year, 100 ambulance members and firefighters sharing the same facility, and equipment stored in every nook and cranny. The crews worked well together but there just was not enough room.
In 1992 the Ambulance and Fire became two separate departments of the village. The Ambulance department was now searching for a new headquarters. Many different sites were considered and many meetings took place. Following a generous donation from Southco Inc., of a 3 acre plot of land on East St., the new Honeoye Falls Ambulance headquarters would be constructed. It wasn’t until April of 1995 that the groundbreaking took place.
The Honeoye Falls Mendon Volunteer Ambulance Corp. was run strictly by volunteers until 1998 when the need for day time coverage resulted in the employment of paid personnel. Today we employ part-time ALS and Basic Life Support (BLS) technicians, a full time Operations Supervisor and approximately 40 volunteers. We cover at least 1000 calls a year and staff the Ambulance base 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. We recently purchased a new Horton ambulance, providing 2 full size vehicles, one advanced life support and one first response vehicle.
We are always actively recruiting new members. If you have an interest in volunteering please call our recruitment line at 624-8760.