According to the Ontario Historical Society of the Town of Ontario, the Ontario Volunteer Emergency Squad (OVES) was organized by an Ontario Rotary Club committee and local funeral directors to meet a growing need for first aid care and ambulance service in town. History note: Prior to 1965 according to local sources, hearses were often used to take patients to hospitals- which must have been unnerving for patients.

In February, 1965, Jan Leaty was elected the first director of 22 volunteer charter members of the ambulance squad. Training was supplied in Red Cross First Aid and an ambulance technique was provided by Al Gorsline. Frank Schwind conducted a fund drive to finance the purchase of a used ambulance. According to some of the early records, Dr. Terry Goff, an Ontario physician, made sure that training was correct and adequate. Volunteers gave freely of their time and skills, and raised funds so that the ambulance service could be established.

The History of Ontario records that the squad started offering service June 18 1965, with Frank Robusto’s Garage on West Main Street as its base. Full-time service began January 1, 1966 after more active recruitment and training had been done. Additional equipment had been added by this time, and four members had qualified as first aid instructors. The number of calls totaled 168 for 1966. Ed Tobin was director of the second fund raiser campaign for a modern operation on a 1967 ambulance and a modern operation headquarters on land rented from the town. In May, 1967, OVES moved into the present headquarters on Furnace Road between the Ridge Road and Route 104.

Home dispatchers originally notified crew members by telephone of emergency calls, which was inconvenient and inefficient; volunteers could only receive calls at home. In 1976, after a difficult time with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations and red tape, a pager system alerting crews by one-way radio went into effect. According to 1975 president Bob Morgray, federal revenue sharing helped the town with financing. Telephone costs for home dispatchers had become very expensive. In 1983, the local dispatching service was discontinued, and members were dispatched by pagers through the Wayne County Sheriff’s office. Since then, Wayne County Fire Control has assumed responsibility.

The Town Of Ontario funds the ambulance service. In 1976 a new can type ambulance was purchased, making two ambulances and crews available simultaneously. The base building was enlarged so there would be a bay for the new rig. Since then, two modular-type ambulances have replaced them.


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