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Public Safety Double Feature: Back-to-Back Press Conferences Address Opioids and the Future of Ambulance Service in Niagara County

Author: Christian Peck/Tuesday, September 19, 2017/Categories: General, Legislature

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LOCKPORT—Before Niagara County lawmakers meet tonight, a pair of press conferences scheduled for opposite sides of the Niagara County Courthouse will highlight two of the hottest public safety issues impacting Western New York.

At 6 p.m., Community Safety Committee Chairman David Godfrey, R-Wilson, Emergency Services Coordinator Jonathan Schultz, and representatives of most of the county’s volunteer fire companies will announce—before a backdrop of fire trucks, ambulances, and other emergency equipment—their support for a court ruling that allows Mercy EMS to operate countywide, providing professional ambulance service to support volunteer fire companies emergency responders.

Competitors had sought to block issuance of a “certificate of need,” which allows the ambulance service to operate countywide.

Then, at 6:30 p.m., county lawmakers led by Opioid Addiction/Overdose Strategy Implementation Standing Committee Chairman Rebecca Wydysh, R-Lewiston, and Majority Leader Randy Bradt, R-North Tonawanda, will observe Recovery Month—including a remembrance ceremony of lives lost to opiate addiction. Bradt, who lost a nephew to an overdose last year, will play a key part in the ceremony.

“The common thread in both of these press conferences is our first responders,” Wydysh said this morning. They have been on the front lines of the battle to retake lives from opiate addiction, and we’re glad to see our volunteers getting much-needed professional backup.”

Godfrey concurred.

“Our EMS services have been strained by this renewed threat of deadly drugs in our communities,” Godfrey said. “We want them to know we stand with them, and supporting this outcome in this court case is part of that.”

The event, with its emergency vehicles, balloon release, dueling press conferences on opposite sides of the historic courthouse, and lawmakers personally touched by the opioid crisis, will provide significant B Roll and interview opportunities for media outlets.

WHO:  Niagara County Legislature Majority Leader Randy R. Bradt, R-North Tonawanda, Legislature Chairman Wm. Keith McNall, R-Lockport, Opioid Addiction/Overdose Strategy Implementation Standing Committee Chairman Rebecca Wydysh, R-Lewiston, Community Safety Committee Chairman David Godfrey, R-Wilson, District Attorney Caroline A. Wojtaszek, Emergency Services Coordinator Jonathan Schultz, other lawmakers and dignitaries, and representatives of nearly every fire company in Niagara County.

WHAT:  Holding back-to-back press conferences focusing on new emergency services contracts planned countywide and the county’s response to opioid addiction.

WHEN:  Tuesday, Sept. 19, 6 p.m.                                        

WHERE:  Niagara County Courthouse, 175 Hawley Street, Lockport.

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