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Old 11-23-2016, 09:28 PM
Denny Shira Denny Shira is offline
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Default Professional 805 ay National Ambulance, Rochester NY Circa 1972

On A transfer to Strong Memorial hospital I stopped at National's HQ. It was A car dealership that they took over. National's tow truck is visible in the background.
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Old 11-23-2016, 11:44 PM
Paul Steinberg Paul Steinberg is offline
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Is that a siren on the roof, in front of the beacon, on the tow truck ???
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Old 11-24-2016, 01:24 PM
Denny Shira Denny Shira is offline
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Good eye Paul! The Tow truck also carried rudimentary extrication equipment,thus the lights and siren.
They had a large all Cadillac fleet and a couple of full time mechanics who were also EMT'S. When it got busy they would grab a rig and go.

National also had a large fleet of wheel chair vans that were also fitted with an emergency light and siren, and a lock for a cot. they were not normally used as ambulances, but were equipped as such in case of an MCI or a large scale disaster.
There was a storage area on the second floor of their garage with enough cots for all of the vans. Each cot had all the basic equipment, splints, O2, medical bag,etc and were covered with plastic.
Quite a sophisticated operation at the time.
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Old 11-25-2016, 12:17 AM
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Hmmm, not sure how I feel about seeing an ambulance service with sausage trucks in front of it.....
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Old 04-03-2017, 11:30 PM
Walter Suiter Walter Suiter is offline
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If you fellows can tolerate an old pro Ambulance Driver/Attendant who has a decent memory and worked for National, I'll fill you in.
National was started by George Heisel back in the Depression when Rochester's hospitals got clear of the Ambulance business. George was well connected and set up renting hearses and giving ambulance rides from a lumber & freight shed on Exchange Street, where he also sold dry ice, filled fire extinguishers and cascade filled Oxygen bottles. Those were the fun days, and many Ambulance runs were made to the Airport carrying bagged slices of dry ice SkyChef put in the boxes containing the in flight meals.

Unfortunately, George had a son, Junior, and Junior just had to come into the company as a manager. He managed to start a lot of trouble. He even managed to change the old man's rule no driver could drive a hearse hauling anyone they had driven as a patient.

When NY decided to relocate the bridge over the River George cut a sweet deal on the University Ave building that was then about a 10 year old auto repair shop. The man who built it was busting out, and the Bank was happy to get what they could from George.

The move was an improvement to a better location, with actual heat except near the dry ice pile. Pay was by the run, and Junior docked you if the car was left running in winter to keep the interior warm. You could make some extra working the ice pile or extinguishers, and sitting in the office chewing the ear off some widow to pay for her husband's last Ambulance ride.

Rochester had 3 Ambulance companies back then, National, Central & Medical Labs who had taken over American's barn and bought new cars. Junior was all about driving Central and Medical Labs out of business. Generally, if National had a car near a dispatch one of the others was rolling to National would jump the call. That turned into a few fistfights and flying gurneys out on the road.

Now, about that tow truck, it was a patched together half ton Chevy that was more of a snow plow than a tow truck. It did bring every one of National's "new" Caddies into the fleet though, because Junior like his father before him only bought used Ambulances and hearses.

The most important piece of equipment in a National car was the Tackograph, because the community was a little upset about high speed lunch runs. Junior personally went over those charts with a magnifying glass.

About the sausage trucks, the old man had pretty much retired, and Junior read something about an outfit in the midwest running trucks with large patient bodies. Caddys were coming to an end under NY regulations, and Junior scooped up the sausage trucks figuring to convert them to Ambulances. Somehow, they just got parked in dead spots in the lot.

National had money trouble and sold out to Rural Metro who now fly the AMR flag in Rochester.
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Old 04-03-2017, 11:41 PM
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nice to hear from the peole that worked it.
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Old 04-04-2017, 02:08 AM
Walter Suiter Walter Suiter is offline
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You fellows are interested in learning about those times, I'm willing to enlighten you. Might have to be in short segments because my associate ArtRitus isn't a fan of a lot of typing.

I stumbled in here thanks to google while I was looking for some Rochester information, so it's sort of fitting to pass some information along as compensation for me reading your site.

In addition to the 4 commercial Ambulance companies I mentioned, Rochester was the Home of Corey Professional Vehicle, dealer for Superior Coach, and from the 60sw thru the 80s the birthplace of many Volunteer Corps, including Greece Volunteer Ambulance, the First Class A Volunteer Company in NY State.
We also had some Vol FDs who got into providing Ambulance service in the 50s, and got out in the 70s when a lot of Regulation came into being.
Hamlin, a rural suburb established the only VFW Vol Ambulance service I ever ran onto back in the 50s set up mostly by Korean and WW 2 vets, because it was needed and their Vol FD wouldn't add an Ambulance.

The first in NY rolling ICU for NeoNates was built here by Corey into a new Class A motorhome in the early 80s. That monster contained an incubator and everything that could be rolled along with a 7.5 kva power plant and 50 gallons of water along with crew of 5 when it left Rochester to bring a baby in trouble to Strong. After it was built, Strong realized they didn't want to run it, just staff it when it was on a run, so Junior generously volunteered National to provide parking & driver. Naturally National's name got painted on the side. That rig takes near an hour to jack down to its tires and crew up before it can run.
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Old 04-04-2017, 08:00 AM
Richard Vyse Richard Vyse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter Suiter View Post
You fellows are interested in learning about those times, I'm willing to enlighten you.
We all love to hear stories from the days of old. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 04-08-2017, 02:25 AM
Walter Suiter Walter Suiter is offline
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I'll just ruminate a bit till I get PERMANENTLY BANNED FOREVER + 3 YEARS.
Ain't like I haven't been run off by a woman or 2 in the past, so I can survive rejection and the doghouse.
Besides, somebody needs to disabuse youngsters of misinformation you seem to hold.

The Great Ambulance Race-
Junior might have been a big fan of Nathan Bedford Forest, if you allow yourself to believe he ever read a book, and could understand what he read. "He who gets there firstest with the mostest generally wins" was one of the 2 phrases he remembered, and spouted every chance he had. It as odd considering every car, including the 2 rental hearses sitting under bedsheets he'd purloined and had sewn together for paint protection had a Tackograph to make sure nobody went over the speed limit. It was completely within company policy to roar headlong into oncoming traffic with lights & both sirens going, until the battery failed. Junior himself had determined it more effective than getting cars to move right coming from behind. Some drivers questioned that wisdom, but Junior rarely came out of his office so he really didn't know how we moved cars through traffic.

When all 3 TV stations in town got movie cameras they got on a consumer protection kick, and fortunately one of George's contacts called to enlighten Junior Channel 13 was filming for a piece on the danger of ambulances running across town with lights and sirens. Since the TV 13 guys were out to get us, Junior issued a General Order to minimize siren use. Jimmar who had come to the company with the first motorized ambulance, so the story went, had a few contacts of his own, and an idea. He set a deal up with the photographer from Chanel 10, and squared things away with Cops & the Fire Department for a cross city ambulance race through traffic. Two cars would load a fake patient over at Culver and University, and depart for St Marys with the aid of a cop acting as starter. One would run lights & siren, and the second would just drive with traffic. A second Cop sitting at the Hospital would have 2 stopwatches so trip time was beyond any question. Genuine TV Reporters volunteered to play patient, and a Memo went into Junior's IN box about 27 layers down telling him of the race.

The race went off on schedule with the TV camera riding in the car running lights. Like I said, Jimmar had been around a while, and he and his driver made the ride without lights or siren, nobody bothered to factor in Jimmar and his driver knew every side street and shortcut thru a factory property or parking lot in town. The run was about 5 miles from Start to Hospital, and never exceded 35 mph. The car running lights and siren got to the Hospital 42 seconds ahead of Jimmar. When all the interviewing and editing ws done, the company got a free TV commercial on the evening News, pointing out how Professional Ambulance crews knew their business and how important it was for cars to pull to the right, after all, it might be your loved one in the Ambulance.

The editor cut the part of the film where Jimmar stepped from his car with coffee for the other crew. Junior even got some face time standing next to one of the green monsters.

Just to save you asking, the coffee was cold. It made the round trip, but it was a magnificent gesture.
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Old 04-08-2017, 11:57 AM
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Love the war story's of the good old days.
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