Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My Visit To Empire Ambulance

Today, I was invited to Empire Ambulance Corps headquarters in Fishkill, NY on Route 9 just north of the Putnam County line, to photograph their new Hummer H3 flycars.

Sure, everyone has something to say about every commercial agency, whether they actually know the facts or not is a different story. Today's visit to Empire State Ambulance was enlightening to me, and even cleared up some misconceptions I had. This is surely a progressive company that's looking toward the future. And a different Empire then times past.

First, before I even introduced myself, I was greeted by a friendly field staff, who were inuniforms, outside headquarters awaiting assignment. I then met with the operations staff of Empire, who were awesome and started off by showing me the companies newest addition to it's fleet....it's 3 new Hummer H3 flycars, which will be used to serve the Putnam County ALS contract they were recently awarded. That service will begin September 29th.

The choice of the Hummer H3 impressed me. They are cheaper then Tahoes or Expedition of similar package, and also use less fuel. Their spacious build and wide tracking make them well suited as use for flycars in rural-esque Putnam County. The siren/light console was intergrated with the dashboard in an easy to reach fashion, making for a very uncluttered layout. Each flycar is equipped with a Panasonic Toughbook touch-screen laptop, that has GPS navigation and the Putnam County CAD on it. The vehicle is also equipped with AVL, so the dispatcher can see exactly where in the county the flycar is on a live map, and the paramedic can see where the other cars are. Another nice feature of the laptop is that it has full Windows capability, allowing Medics to write on Word, or use a paramedic reference installed on the computer. All the paramedic gear for these flycars was purchased new with input from Empire's staff. This includes brand new fully loaded Lifepak 12's, and Braslow Pediatric bags.

Here's a video of the lighting package. My little camera has only limited video capabilities, so the lights aren't shown as intense or fast as they are in person. The lighting package is impressive.

And from the rear of the vehicle:

I also did not know Empire had such extensive fleet maintence, including their own body shop and EVS trained mechanic staff. They are currently in the process of building 2 7,000 square foot buildings, so all their vehicles are house indoors when not on the road.

Empire also has a complete education center. While I was there, they were hosting an EMD class. Some of the classes they give are AHSI, CPR, CME's, etc. Plans for the future are to be a complete non stop EMS training facility, including EMT original and refresher classes.

Empire State Ambulance is a full service ambulance provider, providing BLS, ALS, ambulette and educational services over a 7 county region in southern New York State. They operate a 24/7 dispatch center with an elaborate CAD system from their headquarter on the Putnam County/Dutchess County border.

Empire State Ambulance Corp. is also a charter sponsor of EMTBravo.com

I thank the Empire staff for showing me Putnam County's new ALS provider and its extensive capabilities.