PRATTSVILLE — The addition of a fifth paramedic vehicle to the county’s flycar system has significantly reduced response times on the mountaintop, Greene County Paramedics President Mark Evans said.
After a series of requests by mountaintop officials, the Greene County Legislature authorized the purchase of the additional flycar in November 2019. The vehicle was funded by a $60,000 contribution from Greene County Emergency Medical Services and a $50,000 State and Municipal Facilities Program Grant from the state Assembly. The remaining $303,203 was picked up by the county.
A flycar is a paramedic vehicle that prepares patients for transport prior to the arrival of an ambulance.
“It’s been going exceptionally well,” Evans said of the new vehicle, which went live in April. “Having that truck there has saved several lives. At the end of the year, we calculated the response times and they’re very impressive. The response time on the mountaintop went from 14 minutes 18 seconds to 10 minutes and 21 seconds — a four-minute drop. That’s a significant drop.”
Prior to the implementation of the new vehicle, response times on the mountain were about five minutes longer than the nine-minute response time in the valley.
“Our overall response time across the entire system went from 10 minutes and 15 seconds to nine minutes and 17 seconds,” Evans said. “We’re extremely happy with that and for any rural county like ours to have a response time to get a paramedic to the scene in under 10 minutes is really astounding.”
Legislator Larry Gardner, D-Hunter, was pleased with the quicker response time.
“I could not be happier,” he said. “It’s going to save lives. People on the mountain are safer because it is here. And as we predicted, the response time has come down. I want to thank all involved in having this happen — Greene County EMS, Mark Evans and everyone else and our legislators for seeing it through.”
Hunter Town Supervisor Daryl Legg said the additional vehicle has already saved lives, including a resident who had an allergic reaction in Prattsville.
“It’s been a godsend, really,” Legg said.
Prattsville Town Supervisor Greg Cross said the flycar made all the difference this summer.
“I can tell you firsthand two occasions this summer where it saved a life,” he said.
Cross’ neighbor ingested a poisonous mushroom by mistake, he said.
The man’s airway had nearly closed within 15 minutes, Cross said.
“He said to me, ‘No disrespect to our EMS or EMTs, without that paramedic I would not be standing here in my living room,’” Cross said.
On another occasion, a young boy was rescued at the Prattsville Barrier Dam.
“Between the good Samaritan, the paramedics, EMTS and the NetLife (sic) helicopter, that kid is still alive,” Cross said. “The paramedic is worth every dollar spent on it.”
The flycar is a 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe, which cost $45,000 equipped with lights, siren and striping and another $50,000 in life-saving equipment. The truck carries a cardiac monitor/defibrillator, airway/intubation kit, IV kit, CPR machine and drug bag with nearly all the emergency drugs of an emergency room, Evans said.
The vehicle is stationed at the Prattsville firehouse, but all of the flycars respond to calls throughout the county and move their positions depending on where the other vehicles are located.
In addition to the second flycar stationed on the mountaintop, the original vehicle was relocated from Windham to Hunter in an effort to reduce response times.
The Hunter car was moved in May to a building at the corner of Bridge Street and Route 23A.
“The village of Hunter gave us a $0 lease for 15 years,” Evans said.