The need for an ambulance service in the town of Gates heightened in the late 1950s and early ’60s during the town’s transition from a rural, agricultural area into a suburban community. Preceding the founding of the Gates Volunteer Ambulance Service (GVAS) on February 23, 1964, ambulance transportation in Gates was provided by hospitals (the St. Mary’s Hospital ambulance, for example) or from commercial ambulance firms. The response time and the expense were the often-voiced reasons for establishing an ambulance service for the town. During the 1940s and ’50s, the Gates-Chili Fire Department maintained a rescue car with oxygen, first aid supplies, and a resuscitator, but the department had neither the necessary funds nor personnel to operate fire-fighting equipment and an ambulance.
The first public word of the proposed town ambulance service came September 12, 1963, when a group of Gates physicians endorsed the proposal of Dr. J. Walter Knapp. Dr. Erwin J. Boerschlein, Dr. Jack L. Connelly, Dr. James W Carlin, and Dr. John E Montione agreed “that the town of Gates represents an area of population concentration which was in need of ambulance service for its residents.” The Gates Chili News reported that the physicians hailed the proposal as a step in the direction of better health and safety for town residents. Samuel J. Smith, the newspaper’s founder wrote:”
Gates Volunteer Ambulance Service (GVAS) was officially founded in 1964 to serve the emergency needs of the residents of the town of Gates. In March of 2014, GVAS and Spencerport Volunteer Ambulance merged to become one agency. Since then, GVAS has grown to over 100 volunteer and career members and a fleet of 12 vehicles housed out of 3 stations. The new GVAS district is now 52 square miles.
GVAS responded to over 8,500 calls for assistance annually in 2021, with a majority of the responses requiring Advanced Life Support. In addition to the calls for service, GVAS also hosts monthly community training for CPR, AED, Stop the Bleed, along with blood pressure checks for all residents.