The Great Barrington Fire Department has earned state approval to expand its emergency medical response and life-saving interventions.

Lt. Justin Bona, the Great Barrington Fire Department's emergency medical service coordinator, led this months-long process for ambulance service licensure from the state Department of Public Health.

The Great Barrington Fire Department responds to medical emergencies with its Ford Expedition vehicle, which is certified as a non-transport ambulance (unless no other ambulance is available). Fire department EMTs are the first responders in 75 percent of medical calls in Great Barrington and Housatonic.

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Chief Charles Burger said, “This new license allows us to bring a higher level of EMS care to medical calls including administering several life-saving medications.”

“Lt. Bona did a great job of leading this effort on behalf of the Great Barrington Fire Department,” said Town Manager Mark Pruhenski. “This is an excellent step up for our region’s emergency response services.”

The department is staffed with eight licensed EMTs, three of whom are full-time. At least one is on duty 16 hours per day, seven days per week.

Southern Berkshire Ambulance will continue to be the primary EMS transport service for Great Barrington. However, this license allows an agreement with Southern Berkshire Ambulance to cross-staff their ambulances with Great Barrington Fire Department staff if they are short on personnel.

“The Great Barrington Fire Department is always looking for ways to better serve the community,” said Chief Burger. “This is a very effective way for us to improve EMS service to the town. I thank Lt. Bona and our other EMTs for their dedication and work to make this happen.”

Residents and visitors to the town are reminded to call 911 for any emergency. This is the most effective and efficient way to get the appropriate services when an emergency arises.

Article Image: Lt. Justin Bona

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