The History and Future of Candor EMS

Candor EMS began in 1963 after a proposal from the Owego Legion Ambulance to loan us an ambulance to cover Candor and the surrounding communities. Soon after the Candor Legion built a garage to hold the 1961 Cadillac ambulance, which had very minimal equipment and a stretcher. Our equipment upgraded to a fishing tackle box and we painted the Cadillac white with a giant red cross on it plus we added some first aid equipment. To contact the squad the community called a specific number, that would ring a party line of 10 members homes and the bar at Candor American Legion. Eventually in the early 1970's the Owego Legion offered to sell the rig and all the equipment to the Candor Legion for $1.00, creating the Candor Legion Ambulance Service. 

Years passed and we continued to grow and eventually would incorporate as the Candor Emergency Squad and move to our current location at 58 Main Street in the Village of Candor. The ambulances have changed, equipment has been upgraded, but one thing that is steadfast is the commitment to provide high quality emergency medical services to our community. Currently we have 2 ambulances, that are both equipped with advanced life support equipment and crews ready whenever the need is presented. 

In 2020 there was a great shift of responsibility from an agency that was primarily a volunteer agency to a 24/7 paid staff to respond to emergency calls.  This was partly due to Covid-19 and the restrictions of our aging volunteer pool, but also due to members moving out of the area and the ever-changing requirements to be an Emergency Medical Technician in New York State.  People working a full-time career and trying to volunteer were getting burned out of the many hours it takes to continue their EMT education and respond to calls.  The shortage of volunteer EMT’s is a nationwide problem, it has caused longer response times for the sick and injured and many small agencies like ours have been forced to close their doors.  With the possibility of Candor EMS going bankrupt and closing the doors we decided to seek outside help by establishing a community action group to raise awareness of the dire situation here at Candor EMS.

Shortly into our campaign we began to realize that our small town stood behind us and would work with us to create a solution to guarantee rapid, local and highly trained providers for years to come. We began to raise awareness of a potential solution which would involve the squad being contracted with the Town of Candor to provide EMS coverage. Of course this did come at a cost and the overwhelming support of the tax payers made it clear to the town board that no amount was to great to have life saving services this close to home. In August of 2021, we entered into a formal contract with the Town of Candor, to offset the labor cost of a staffed 24/7 - 365 days a year ambulance with a full crew. 

Of course, we still continue to use and maintain our volunteers.  Without the heart of a volunteer and the community's love for our hometown squad, we would not be where we are today.  Things continue to change and grow as we move into the next exciting era of Candor EMS.  We currently receive our funds from multiple sources to cover payroll, maintain our equipment and the building.  The town contract does not cover our operation expenses.  We work diligently to find and apply for grants, do fundraisers, actively seek donations and we have moved to a billing company to handle payment for services rendered when someone calls 911.  If not for these additional income sources, we would still be in trouble financially.  State funding for EMS is very limited due to the fact that New York State does not include EMS services as an essential service.  The EMS community continues to work with legislation to promote the awareness of this issue, so more small towns can continue to provide ambulance coverage, this is especially important when living in a rural area. 

We have a Board of Directors that consists of members of the squad and two community members that work in tandem with the Director of Operations, the squad Captain and the Office Manager.  The squad actively continues to seek additional members who want to promote the growth of the agency.  For more information see our membership page.  Current Board Members are as followed:

As a final note, we realize the amazing support from our community; with donations, years of volunteer work and all the support this past year to make sure our doors stay open so we can continue to provide emergency care to our community.  We are excited for the next chapter of Candor EMS and we look forward to bringing you the best service right to your doorstep.