In 1967, when St Luke’s Hospital ceased ambulance service, Town of Newburgh residents initiated a meeting to form their own Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and incorporated in October 1967. The first vehicle used was a 1965 Cadillac purchased for $5000.00. Emergency phones were situated in three private homes of Corps members who dispatched members 24/7.
The Corps’ actual first “day on the road” was February 1, 1968. In its first year of service, TONEMS responded to 550 calls. In 2008 we responded to 2500 calls. In 1991 the TONEMS became NYS Certified, which means an Emergency Medical Technician has to be on the ambulance and in 1992 TONEMS became the second volunteer ambulance corps in Orange County to have Automatic External Defibrillators on each ambulance for cardiac emergencies.
Our first operating budget was $5,993.00 which was garnered solely from the kindness of donations. In 2008 our budget was $440,000.00 funded through third party billing, donations, small grants and a small subsidy from the Town of Newburgh itself. The Ambulance Corps is headquartered in a building built in 1973 at 97 South Plank Road. TONEMS currently has 3 2008, Horton built, Ford ambulances. These ambulances have a new Cheveron design in the back making TONEMS the first Ambulance corps with Cheverons in Orange County, NY.
TONEMS is still a volunteer organization. However, during the day time we have found it necessary to engage the services of paid EMTs and drivers to continue our coverage of the increasing number of emergency calls.