Frequently Asked Questions
What is MVAC?
A: The Mineola Volunteer Ambulance Corps (MVAC) is a dedicated group of professionals, trained in emergency medicine, who volunteer their time to the people of Mineola, as well as to the surrounding towns when the need arises. From their headquarters on Elm Place, the Corps can respond to 911 emergency calls within minutes, anywhere within our assigned service territory.
What level of training do your volunteers have?
A: An ambulance will always be dispatched with at least one NYS certified EMT-B (or higher) a driver and, often, a third crew member who is trained, but may not be an EMT. All EMT's, both 'professional' and volunteer are held to the same strict certification requirements.
What do you charge for bringing people to the hospital?
A: MVAC bills the patient’s insurance company.
Can I call an ambulance if I don't have insurance?
A: Yes. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 516-742-3300 or 911 immediately.
Can ambulances break traffic laws?
A: An ambulance is an emergency vehicle and is granted certain exceptions to traffic laws in certain situations. If the situation warrants it, and the ambulance can maneuver safely, you may see an ambulance going above the posted speed limit or proceeding safely through a red light. MVAC trains all of our drivers extensively and operates our vehicles with "due regard." Crew and patient safety are our highest priorities.
What do I do if I see an ambulance operating with lights and sirens while I'm driving?
A: When it is safe, please move your vehicle to the right and come to a complete stop until the emergency vehicle passes you. If the ambulance is not operating with lights and sirens, it does not need to be yielded to.
Why do I see the ambulance transporting a patient without lights and sirens?
A: We only proceed with lights and sirens if the crew feels that the expedited transport will improve the outcome of the patient. By operating with lights and sirens, studies show that there is an increased likelihood of being involved in an accident, so we only operate in this manner when necessary. The safety of our crew and patients is our highest priority.
Why do I see civilian cars with flashing green lights? What does this mean?
A: In NYS, a flashing green light indicates EMS personnel responding to a 911 call in their personal vehicles. Because our volunteers sometimes leave the building during their shift, if they get a call they will activate their green light and proceed safely to meet the ambulance. If you see a passenger car with a flashing green light, please treat it like any other emergency vehicle. When it is safe, please pull over to the right and come to a complete stop.
Why do I sometimes see ambulances from neighboring towns responding to calls in your service area?
A: If our ambulances are out on a call, or unable to respond for whatever reason, then the closest ambulance will be dispatched to come into our service area to help provide our residents with prompt and professional emergency care. While Mineola is our primary service area, we will respond into neighboring towns as well when requested by other departments through our dispatchers. This is known as a mutual aid agreement. Also, certain businesses and groups have contracts with private ambulance providers for emergency and non-emergency transports.
Will the ambulance take me to the hospital of my choice?
A: MVAC will transport you to the hospital of your choice if the circumstances allow. For certain emergencies, we may transport to one facility in favor of another based on a variety of factors including expected transport times, capabilities of the receiving facility, and patient load at the hospital. For example, sometimes one hospital may get very busy and request that we transport patients to another facility until they can get their case load under control. If transporting a patient to another facility does not negatively affect patient care, we will honor the hospital's request.
Can I call an ambulance for a non-emergency transport?
A: MVAC will only respond to 911 dispatched medical emergencies, with the sole exception of pre-arranged standbys. If you require an ambulance for a non-emergency transports, there are several private organizations operating in our area that provide this service.
Are you part of the fire department?
A: No. While some EMS services are part of a local fire department, MVAC is a separate agency from the Mineola Fire Departments. We welcome and encourage volunteers with the fire department to volunteer with MVAC.
About Volunteering and Being a Member of the Corps
What do you mean by "volunteer"?
A: The MVAC is made up almost entirely of people who give of their time, experience, skills, and enthusiasm without pay. While we have a very few paid employees, we are always looking for and need people who can volunteer. Though you will not receive a paycheck, volunteering with MVAC provides many other rewards. For example, you are making a real and important difference in the lives of the people of our community. In addition, you have the chance to learn new skills and meet new friends.
Do I need to be a certified EMT?
A: No prior medical training is needed to begin volunteering with MVAC. However, we do require that all members become state certified EMTs within 1 year of becoming a member. MVAC will sponsor your EMT training through one of many schools in the area.
What would I do?
A: When a sick or injured person calls 911, we respond to the call, provide on-the-spot first aid and life support, then transport the sick or injured person to the hospital. You would be trained to be part of this process.
Other Common Questions
I'm a Nationally Registered EMT, but do not hold a NYS EMT license, can I ride with you?
A: Not immediately as an EMT. You'll need to contact the NYS DOH EMS office to make arrangements to receive a NYS EMT certification. You can, however, apply for membership as a Member in Training while you are working to transition your certification.
How do I become an EMT? Can you help?
A: To become an EMT, you must complete a New York State approved EMT course that lasts for approximately 6 months and meets, on average, twice a week - usually in the evenings. MVAC will sponsor committed MVAC members in good standing who wish to receive training as an EMT. The EMT class is equivalent to a 6-credit college course.
I'm an RN. Can I ride as a nurse?
A: We would welcome you as a valuable addition to our crew as a driver. Unfortunately, your nursing skills and certification do not translate over to EMS certifications. In order to provide medical care in the back of an ambulance, you will need to obtain New York State certification as an EMT.
Can I bring my students on a field trip to your station house?
A: MVAC is happy to assist you and your organization. We ask that you provide us with as much notice as possible, as well as objectives for your visit. Our volunteers will put together a program that is as educational as it is fun.
How can I get an ambulance to standby at my event? Does it cost anything?
A: We cannot guarantee an ambulance for your event, but will work to provide you with one. There are a variety of factors that might prevent us from standing-by at your event including, but not limited to: mechanical problems with our ambulances, higher priority emergencies (our first priority is to respond to 911 dispatched medical emergencies), and crew shortages. If we foresee that we will not be able to provide your event with coverage we will notify you as early as possible. If, at any time, medical attention is required at your event, dial 911 without delay. MVAC will not charge your organization for providing an ambulance. However, we will happily accept a donation.