Bedford Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps is down to one working ambulance.
What You Need To Know
- The group has been saving lives in the community and training residents in CPR and emergency medical training for more than three decades.
- An online fundraising campaign was created to help with operational costs and getting a second emergency response vehicle on the road.
- It costs $3,300 a month to cover liability for just one ambulance.
"At the peak of the pandemic we were running our ambulance, our one ambulance, 24-7 around the clock,” said Commanding Officer Antoine Robinson.
One ambulance is parked on the street and about to be salvaged. And another needs a new engine and insurance.
“The insurance each month is thirty three hundred just for liability on one vehicle. It's very expensive,” Robinson said.
This is not the first time the nonprofit ambulance corps has faced challenges. It was founded out of struggle more than three decades ago by James “Rocky“ Robinson, who realized the neighborhood lacked emergency medical resources during the crack epidemic.
"Every other call was drug-related, people were stealing shoes, they were killing each other and my people were laying in the streets in Bedford-Stuyuvesant,” Robinson said in 2017.
More recently, K2 overdoses plagued the community. Through it all, the Bed-Stuy volunteer service responded to the needs of the community from this trailer on what was once a vacant lot. The on-site CPR training and EMT certification classes have launched careers for thousands of local residents. Robinson died last September. Now his son Antoine is in charge.
"It's very difficult not to have him here,” said Antoine. “But his work is done. His work is done and it's up to us to continue the legacy and keep moving forward."
But moving forward would be easier with working ambulances, especially with the added emergency calls because of coronavirus patients.
"Us only having one unit that we're running, if that unit is stuck at the hospital waiting for triage for two hours that person that's calling 911, that patient that's calling 911 or that heart attack victim that's calling 911 will have to wait that much longer in order to receive care,” said Commanding Officer Robinson.
The Bedford Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps has created a go-fund-me page to help cover its overhead and the cost of getting a second rig on the road. Go to gofundme.com and search for "Help Save Lives With Bed-Stuy Vollies.”