GNH Lumber February 2024

Philmont firefighters fill gap in emergency care


PHILMONT—At the end of the June 9 Village Board meeting Fire Chief Mark Beaumont stood in the audience to describe the Philmont Volunteer Fire Company’s plan to assist EMS responders from the Greenport Rescue Squad in cases of cardiac arrest.

Philmont has been without local responders trained in CPR and the use of defibrillators since the Philmont Rescue Squad was disbanded several years ago due to lack of funds.


“We’re ready to do it, but we have to go through you guys,” Mr. Beaumont said, referring to the board. The board later voted to approve the plan, including adding a new vehicle to the rolls. The volunteers will be able to respond to calls as early as Sunday, June 15.

“It’s really a big need out here,” Mr. Beaumont said. “The average response time you’re looking at is 12 minutes from Greenport. That’s at 60-miles-per-hour with dry roads on a sunny day.” Mr. Beaumont said that response times in the winter rise to at least 20 minutes, well outside the standard that CPR must be administered within six minutes. Mr. Beaumont said that if the town relies exclusively on the Greenport Rescue Squad, “the survival rate is probably 0% out here.”

Mr. Beaumont said that 20 volunteers had been trained in CPR and in the use of defibrillators. “We have a young group of volunteers who are really stepping up to bat.”

Dr. Arunabha Nandi of Columbia Memorial Hospital will be the medical director of the program. Dr. Nandi will not charge the fire company any fees for this service.

The Philmont Rescue Squad was disbanded several years ago due to lack of funding. Mr. Beaumont said that since then there have been several deaths due to cardiac arrest in Philmont, including one on New Year’s morning. It is impossible to say whether these deaths could have been prevented, but they were in areas that would be covered by the new volunteer squad, and would have previously been covered by the Philmont Rescue Squad.


The fire company will cover all of the costs associated with dispatching the new squad and vehicle.

The new team of CPR-trained volunteers, along with truck 474 (a former ambulance donated, along with $6,000, by the now-defunct Philmont Rescue Squad), would be dispatched along with the Greenport Rescue Squad. The local responders would be able to provide CPR and defibrillator assistance until EMTs arrived to administer additional medical care.


Following the meeting, Mr. Beaumont was beaming, clearly pleased with the program. “We’ve been very excited about this,” he said. “We’re part of the community too.”

Also at the meeting the board:


Heard from Holly Heshpeth, a representative for the Columbia County Healthcare Consortium, who spoke briefly about free cancer screenings provided by the consortium

Heard Trustee Doug Cropper say that the afterschool program leader told him “there’s lots of speeders” in that area and asked for help from Philmont Police during afterschool program hours. “There’s one car in particular,” said Mr. Cropper, handing the license plate number to Philmont Chief of Police Vernon Doyle

Learned that Susannah White and Amelia McIsaac will run a one-week long summer camp focusing on puppetry from August 4 to 8

Heard Trustee Brian Johnson said that some trees had been cut down in order to install the solar panels at the Department of Public Works.

“After the solar system is up and running, we’re going to have to cut down the tree between here and the bank.” Monolith Solar will be delivering the panels in the next six weeks

Reminded public that tax bills are due July 1.

Heard Village Treasurer Kim Simmons speak about the response to the recently passed village law providing people with delinquent taxes with the option of participating in a payment plan. Three homeowners have officially started payment plans. The village is waiting for one more person to return the contract for the plan. Two have paid their late taxes in full, and there have three or four additional homeowners who sought information about the plan

Heard Mr. Cropper report that drug paraphernalia including hypodermic needles was found in the water by where the kids play at the Community Center. “So we really need to keep an eye on that,” he said

Heard Community Day Chairman Dick Howard announce that the Town of Claverack has accepted the challenge from the Village for a tug-of-war. The next Community Day meeting is June 16 at 7 p.m.

Heard There will be a spaghetti dinner June 20 upstairs at Village Hall to help raise funeral expenses for a recently deceased Philmont resident

Noted that there were two unsafe building sites owned by Sam Wright. The board intends to give Mr. Wright notice that fences must be installed, failing which the town will install fences and send the bill to Mr. Wright. Mr. Ostrander said that he had received complaints from residents that the board had not done enough as far as requiring Mr. Wright to make these sites safe. “I think that would help the issue,” Chief Doyle said.


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