Jean Shafiroff Interviews Christopher Epley, Chief of Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance, about the building of its new headquarters.
The Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance (SVVA) provides 24-hour emergency care and transport of sick and injured people in the Village of Southampton. These services are also provided beyond the village boundaries at the request of town, county, state, or federal agencies. In addition to providing emergency care, the SVVA also offers a community CPR program. The SVVA is now building a much-needed new headquarters on Windmill Lane in Southampton.
Why do we need a new ambulance building?
About 15 years ago, the Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance operated two ambulances with twenty volunteer members who responded to approximately 400 calls per year. Today, we have three advanced life support (ALS)-equipped ambulances, 66 volunteer members, including ALS first responders, and four part-time paramedics. We are on call 24 hours a day. In 2018, we received 800 emergency calls and this year we expect a similar number. We also have a large-scale incident/rehabilitation trailer, multiple first-response vehicles, and a beach-rescue utility vehicle.
The old ambulance building on Meeting House Lane is not only showing signs of age, but it no longer provides enough space to sufficiently house all of the equipment, volunteer members, and paid staff.
What is your favorite aspect of the new headquarters?
I am most excited about the training room. As a firm believer in practice makes perfect, I know that having a space for hands-on training will be extremely beneficial to everyone, including our future patients. In addition, the increased size of the headquarters will enable us to host several community classes. It will provide enough space for all of our volunteer members to attend our monthly meetings.
What do you think the volunteer members will enjoy most?
Our volunteer members are most in need of a bunk room and an on-call room. Every night we have between two to four volunteers sleeping on pleather coaches for their overnight duty. The volunteers must be ready to respond at a moment’s notice and so a proper place to sleep would certainly be of help. Our members also stay at the headquarters while they study and train for the job. A proper on-call room would create an ideal space for strong team bonding. Most of our emergency medical services relies on teamwork.
Tell us about your members. What kind of people are they?
The members of the SVVA are all volunteers. They are a diverse group of individuals who come from all different backgrounds. We have high school and college students, engineers, writers, landscapers, electricians, nurses, police officers, teachers, and retired individuals, all with a common bond for the love of this community and a strong will to help people.
When do you expect to move into the new building? What else needs to be done?
We are hoping to move at the end of 2019. Since breaking ground, the construction has progressed smoothly, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. We are also currently fundraising to supply furnishings such as desks, tables, shelves, storage lockers, and other necessary items.
Are you holding any fundraising events in the future? How can people donate?
We are hosting a cocktail party on September 27th at the Southampton Arts Center. However, we hope to have the majority of the fundraising work done before the event. We are asking local businesses and members of our community to donate via our web site: villageems.org/newhq or contact us at 631.287.0558.
About Christopher Epley
Christopher Epley, a lifelong Southampton Village resident, has been a volunteer with the SVVA since 2011. He received his certification as a NYS EMT-B in 2012. He was elected as secretary in 2013, second assistant chief in 2014, the first assistant chief in 2017, and chief in 2019. Christopher is married to Amanda Epley. He holds a BS from St. Joseph’s College.
About Jean Shafiroff
Jean Shafiroff, a philanthropist, humanitarian, activist and author of the book Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life By What You Give, is a volunteer leader of several charitable causes. She serves on the boards of seven charities: NYC Mission Society, French Heritage Society, Couture Council, Jewish Board, Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation Honorary Board, Global Strays, and Southampton Bath and Tennis Club Charitable Foundation. She will be joining the board of Stony Brook Southampton Hospital in July 2019. In addition, Jean is an ambassador for the American Humane Society and the ambassador for the Southampton Shelter. Jean and her family reside in Manhattan and Southampton.