On the afternoon of Monday, March 30, the Rivertowns Enterprise had an appointment to meet the captain of the Ardsley-Secor Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Greg Khitrov, and to photograph the corps’ supply of personal protective equipment for the story that starts on this week’s front page.
Upon arriving at ASVAC headquarters, members of the corps were inside the building, but none responded to initial knocks on the front and rear doors. Eventually, after multiple attempts, one of them opened the rear door and explained that they were preparing to respond to a call.
The call concerned a senior citizen who was having a hard time breathing. The cause was unknown. Nevertheless, as Khitrov later explained, ASVAC members now respond to all calls as if the patient has the Covid-19 coronavirus.
To prepare, John Clear helped fellow members Chris Rich and Paul Daigle put on head-to-toe protective gear, including masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves. Rich and Daigle would aid the patient. The driver, Alan Greenwald, would remain behind the wheel of the ambulance. He required less protection.
Upon their return to headquarters, the three members would remove their equipment outside, discard it, and disinfect the ambulance. The building itself is being disinfected every day.
Every member of ASVAC is a volunteer. So is every member of the Hastings Fire Department’s Volunteer Ambulance Corps. In Dobbs Ferry and Irvington, the ambulance corps consist of volunteers as well as paid professionals. Every one of those volunteers receives zero compensation. Nevertheless, they turn out for call after call, even during a pandemic.
In recent weeks, a lot of deserved attention has been paid to the shortage of supplies for front-line medical professionals, specifically doctors and nurses in hospitals, especially in New York City. In the Rivertowns, that front line also includes ambulance corps members who donate their time to help their neighbors, and who deserve the support of their communities in return.