One of his favorite summertime pleasures is long rides past farms, fields and forest.
As of late, the Westport Fire Company and Emergency Squad’s EMT captain has added a troublesome new routine to his excursions.
Before disappearing into the natural landscape, Wells makes a pitstop at Westport District Fire Chief Thad Tryon’s house to tell him he won’t be available if a call comes in.
Backup is near non-existent and the squad is at an inflection point.
“We’re stretched very, very thin right now,” Wells said.
The Westport Fire Company and Emergency Squad is grappling with the same issues facing squads across upstate New York:
Emergency medical technicians aging out of the profession has led to declining manpower.
And officials believe steep training requirements are dissuading new volunteers from signing up, amongst other societal changes.
The all-volunteer department has approximately 32 members, including 6 EMTs, down from 18 in the 1970s.