Interestingly, the fire department wasn't asked to stop by the local ambulance service. It was one of the department's own commissioners who brought this up. According to the paper,
"The members say we should go anyway," said Commissioner Bill Lothrop Jr. He wants only qualified people running those calls, and only when the ambulance is delayed. "Of course we're worried about liability. In today's day and age, isn't everybody lawsuit-happy?"
The Mamakating First Aid Squad which serves Wurtsboro takes a mature, well stated, community-oriented stand:
"Having them there, the patient will feel more at ease," said Peter Goodman, Mamakating's captain. "You're not going to hurt someone by giving them oxygen."
Yes, the fire department should try to get more members trained as first responders. They should file the state paperwork. But in a world where it is more and more difficult to find volunteers, and at a time when people seem less neighborly in general, here is a group of people who want to help. And help they should.
This is also a lesson to advanced life support students and providers. Even without a lot of training I am sure that the efforts of the members of the Wurtsboro Fire Department are deeply appreciated by the citizens. I'd even feel confident saying that citizens of Wurtsboro will remember that bit of oxygen, hand holding and concern much more than they'll remember any skill performed on an ambulance.
Because when it all comes down to it, EMS is about taking care of people.