Pittsford Volunteer Ambulance

InfoInfo MapMap
40 Tobey Road, Pittsford NY, 14534 [Directions]
Administration/Volunteering: 585 385-2401
Fax: 585 385-5894
Email Addresses
<info AT pittsfordambulance DOT org> - General Questions
<join AT pittsfordambulance DOT org> - Membership/Volunteer

Pittsford Volunteer Ambulance (PVA) is a nonprofit, volunteer ambulance corps located in the Town of Pittsford in the southeast region of Monroe County, New York. It fosters a relationship with the Town of Pittsford Council as part of the town's emergency response team. It carries out its operations and functions from its base at 40 Tobey Road. PVA provides emergency medical services (EMS) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to the residents of the town, and to sections of the surrounding towns (Henrietta, Brighton, East Rochester, Honeoye Falls/Mendon, Penfield and Perinton) through mutual aid agreements signed with neighboring ambulance corps. A PVA ambulance responds to 95% of the calls originating in the town with the remaining calls taken by mutual aid agencies. The base has been staffed continuously without a single lapse since its founding in 1971! PVA is fortunate to be highly regarded by the residents of the town.


PVA started as a Kiwanis and Rotary Club project in 1970. A survey of the Pittsford community conducted by the Girl Scouts determined the interest in an ambulance service. Over 85% of the respondents were in favor of a community based service. After many volunteer hours, Pittsford Volunteer Ambulance, Inc. officially opened on September 11, 1971. In the full first year of operation, there were 65 members and one stretcher ambulance that responded to more than 400 calls. In 2015, PVA has 80 members and responds to 2400 calls per year.


PVA responds to calls to the 911 Dispatch Center in downtown Rochester requesting an ambulance. Medics are New York State Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) certified to provide pre-hospital emergency medical care. The PVA crew is certified to provide Basic Life Support (BLS). If the patient requires Advanced Life Support (ALS) level of care, the agency works with paramedics from the Southeast Quadrant (SEQ) Mobile Critical Care Unit who hold the highest level of pre-hospital care certification.

PVA provides additional services to the community. Individuals are encouraged to visit the base between 8:00 am and 9:00 pm or to phone or email to request other services offered. These include: blood pressure checks; first aid care; instruction in first aid, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED); loans of canes, crutches, wheel chairs, and walkers, standby medical support for community events, and group tours of the base and vehicles for any organization. It also sponsors a BSA Explorer career post for high school students.

Nature of Calls

Most calls come from the 911 Dispatch Center. Some individuals may call the base directly or drive into the base and walk in for care. People are encouraged, for the fastest response, to call 911 in an any emergency.

PVA receives a wide variety of calls. The Town of Pittsford is a residential suburb that includes two college campuses (St. John Fisher College and Nazareth College), several nursing homes and group homes, an urgent care facility, sports and other event fields, large high traffic retail shopping area, light manufacturing, working trades people, a portion of an interstate highway, and a section of the Erie Canal. People call the 911 Dispatch Center concerning illnesses, injuries, sports injuries, motor vehicle accidents, cardiac distress, respiratory distress, abdominal pain, seizures, mental health, fainting, falls with injuries, falls with only a lift assist required, altered mental status, or an overdose are all typical.

The emergency care response team often includes firefighters trained in CPR, and sheriffs from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office (MCSO). Together, EMS, law enforcement, fire services cooperate and work as a team to manage any call.

Equipment and Operations

A minimal crew is a dispatcher, a driver, and a first medic. A second crew is a driver and a first medic. A crew may include a second medic to assist with patient care. At times, a crew may include medic or driver trainees who acquire field experience.

The agency operates three "truck-style" ambulances custom made and certified for operations by the New York State Department of Health. The ambulances are equipped with state-of-the-art medical technology and support systems such as GPS navigation and Stryker powered gurneys. Two units are available to respond to calls at most times.

In addition, the agency also owns an SUV specially configured for EMS. It is a "fly car" that responds to calls when the ambulance is expected to take an unusually long time to respond. The fly car also responds to calls requiring more help, such as a multi-casualty incident (MCI), or a motor vehicle pile-up. PVA also uses the fly car for community standby events and thereby keeps two ambulances in service to respond to calls expected to require transport.

Joining PVA

The agency is always looking for volunteers who can help make a positive difference in the community through emergency medical services. Members may be in their late teens, near empty and empty nesters, and retired senior citizens. Many have received community and accreditation agency awards for their service. Becoming a member begins with expressing interest and completing an application for membership. An individual becomes a volunteer when their application is accepted.

The positions are dispatcher, second medic, driver, first medic, non-medical administrative and other support roles that rely on an individuals' skills in other areas. Volunteers minimally work about 4 hours a week in whatever role they've chosen. Training at that rate takes about 3 months to become cleared in a position

Most all volunteers begin by training to become dispatchers who receive call information transmitted by the 911 Dispatch Center. They dispatch the ambulance and track its progress from one call stage to the next. Dispatchers have continuously staffed the base since the agency's founding. Without a dispatcher PVA cannot be "in-service."

A cleared dispatcher may choose to move on to become a second medic by becoming a certified First Responder or Emergency Medical Technician. Then the member may become a driver or first medic. Many eventually become both. EMT training costs are paid by PVA when there is a reasonable expectation of service that will justify the expense.

After formal classroom training, members are taught to excel in technical and informational competency. They also learn how to handle the human interaction in a way that that conveys the values of empathy, compassion, and service. Following the field experience trainees are cleared to work independently in the position.

Continuing education opportunities mirror the unexpected realities and difficulties associated with field work. Members are required by the agency to fulfill 12 units worth of continuing education annually.


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