The Madison County Office of Emergency Management put its first Faster Advanced Life Support fly car on the road March 8, 2022. The FALS fly car is meant to provide mobile, non-transporting services to care for patients who call 911. Gov. Kathy Hochul has been talking about the healthcare crisis in the state. Madison County is already working to help out and answer the call to alleviate that crisis.
Due to staffing shortages, the influx of COVID-19 cases in our community and an increase in emergency calls, our ambulance services and hospitals have been lifting a heavy burden. In the past few months, it has not been unheard of that hospitals are placing their emergency rooms on diversion, meaning that ambulance crews have to look elsewhere for patient care. Madison County hospitals had to do this multiple times a week recently.
Also, ambulances have been tied up taking long trips to transfer seriously ill patients to open hospitals; sometimes those are hours away. This puts our community in danger of not having a local ambulance ready to answer an emergency call.
These are just some of the reasons Madison County invested in a FALS fly car service. The Madison County fly cars are equipped with top of the line equipment and experienced paramedics for great patient care and outcomes. The FALS fly cars will be staffed initially for 40 to 50 hours a week to handle low-acuity 911 calls that will help keep ambulances and other paramedics in our community in service to respond to larger emergencies or emergencies that require transport. The goal is to be able expand to 80 to 90 hours a week by the spring for coverage. Hours of operation depend on staff availability and times of typical high call volumes.
“Emergency Management protects the whole community by coordinating and integrating all activities necessary to build, sustain and improve the capability to mitigate against, prepare for, respond to and recover from threatened or actual hazards and disasters,” said OEM Director Dan Degear. “Our ALS fly cars do just that. They help answer a need that has been in our community for a while. Our goal is to provide not only emergency services, but preventive health services, assistance with vaccinations and assistance with mental health crisis.”
“I’m very excited to be able to bring more emergency medical services to Madison County, and to be able to provide our community with faster advanced life support services,” said EMS Coordinator Jenna Rosky. “The Emergency Management team and the county’s administration has worked very hard to provide these resources for our community and our local ambulance agencies. We are looking forward to seeing these resources be utilized by providing help to our community.”
“Madison County is a rural community with limited resources,” said Board Chairman John M. Becker. “The ALS fly car is a way to provide more resources to our residents, especially in their time of need. The topic was on our radar prior to COVID-19, and the pandemic made it even more apparent that our community would benefit from a program like this. I am proud of the work the Office of Emergency Management has put into creating this service for our residents.”
“The discussion of having a county-run ALS fly car has been happening for some time; now, after much planning and preparation, Madison County is pleased to offer this additional effort to serve our residents’ emergency needs,” said Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee Chairman and Georgetown Supervisor Paul Walrod.
Funding for this pilot program comes from the American Rescue Plan Act funds that Madison County received. One vehicle and team will be stationed at the Madison County Highway Facility in Eaton, and the other will be in Wampsville at the Madison County Office complex.