Madison County’s “Fly Car” is On the Road – No, It Does Not Fly
It is being called a "Fly Car" and, even though it does not really fly, it is meant to be the quickest way some in Madison County will be able to access emergency services.
The Madison County Office of Emergency Management has its first "Faster Advanced Life Support" (ALS) Fly Car on the road.
Services from the Fly Car are meant to offset healthcare staff shortages that have been exacerbated by the COVID crisis. Officials say that many emergency rooms have had to divert ambulances because they have no room for additional patients. When an emergency room is on diversion, ambulance companies may have to travel long distances to bring the patient to a hospital that will accept an emergency case. The hope is that the Fly Car will help alleviate some of the burdens on local emergency rooms and ambulance services.
Based on the severity of the reported emergency and the availability of vehicles, Fly Car services will be available to many patients who call 911. Patients will be treated without having to travel to the emergency room via ambulance or private car unless Fly Car personnel deem an ER visit necessary.
The ALS Fly car is currently staffed forty to fifty hours per week, handling 911 calls that are deemed "low acuity." The goal is to double the operational hours to eighty or ninety hours a week in the spring.
The program receives American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds from the federal government allocated to Madison County.
Jenna Rosky, EMS Coordinator for the program, tells WIBX that the program is a temporary, pilot program. After two years Madison County's Fly Car will be re-evaluated. If it is determined that the program is a success then an alternate source of funding will be sought, since the ARPA funding will, most likely, no longer be available.
As part of the service, a paramedic and EMT respond to an emergency. Rosky says that they are also available to assist other emergency responders and out-of-town ambulance services who are transporting patients in Madison County. In more serious cases the Fly Car staff is available to help other ambulance services to provide extra hands.
In Madison County, there is currently one vehicle, stationed at the Madison County Highway Facility in Eaton. Another is expected to start running in the spring. That will operate out of the Madison County Office Building in Wampsville.