Madison County EMS Reports Success in Wake of SOMAC Transition

Back to All Stories

Madison County Director of Emergency Management Dan Degear says that — while there is still some paperwork and legal aspects to work through — the Nov. 11, 2023, transition of primary ambulance service for the greater Hamilton area from the Southern-Madison Ambulance Corps (SOMAC) to Madison County EMS has been seamless.

“As far as our emergency response goes, everything is going really well there,” Degear said of the recent change. “We have not missed one 911 call since we took over. SOMAC had three ambulances, and we are going to keep three. One is staffed 24/7, and the other is more part-time as a backup for facility transfers out of the hospital. The third is a van ambulance, which is primarily responsible for the stand-by events, but it’s also a fully equipped ambulance and can be called upon for regular EMS calls.”

Degear says the county continues to value a close working relationship with Colgate University, as the agency now has about 30 student volunteers helping to staff ambulances, respond to emergencies, and to staff stand-by calls for community events and Colgate athletic competitions.

“We love the students,” Degear said. “The students are going through a lot of the county’s compliance training, and we’ve changed their uniforms because it’s a different agency they are representing. They are a phenomenal group of people, and we’re excited to be working with them.”

A sign of that appreciation can be seen on the newest Madison County EMS ambulance, which is now emblazoned with a classic Colgate C and the statement, “Proudly serving Colgate University.” 

Colgate student EMS volunteers now have new uniform patches to clearly distinguish their service, and they have access to the county’s full-time EMS training team.

For Alisha Greenstein ’26, a molecular biology and Spanish double major from  Hightstown, N.J., who has volunteered as an emergency medical technician since the fall of 2023, her time as an EMT has been a valuable experience outside the classroom, and she has already seen several improvements to how the area ambulance service operates.

“The county training has been really great so far,” Greenstein said. “One thing SOMAC has always been known for is a commitment to further education and always striving to be a better provider, and I think the county is just as set on that.”

In addition to expanded training, Greenstein said EMTs are also now documenting emergency calls with digital charts.

“The main difference is that we used to do everything on paper and type it up, and now we have tablets in the ambulance,” Greenstein said.

Colgate Associate Vice President for Community Affairs and Auxiliary Services Joanne Borfitz said the smooth transition to a county-run ambulance service is a credit to the work of the SOMAC board, volunteers, and staff who worked to make the change as painless as possible.

Borfitz said Colgate will also help with the change by paying off an ambulance that was purchased before the county took over the service.

“The University has committed to paying off the ambulance — an $80,000 investment,” she said. “Everyone is so pleased that everything is going well. We are fortunate to have a dedicated ambulance service for this community, and I think Madison County will just continue to make improvements as we move forward.”