Serino introduces new ‘Fly Car’ initiative to provide life-saving equipment and encourage EMS recruitment

EMTs and Paramedics Save Lives

Serino introduces new ‘Fly Car’ initiative to provide life-saving equipment and encourage EMS recruitment


Poughkeepsie, NY… With support from the Dutchess County Legislature, Dutchess County Executive Sue Serino is working to forge a new partnership with local fire departments, rescue squads and ambulance corps to bolster Emergency Medical Services (EMS) recruitment, as part of multi-faceted effort to spotlight and address the growing EMS crisis, which has resulted in longer ambulance response times.  County Executive Serino is proposing a new program to provide life-saving equipment to fire departments for their ‘fly car’ vehicles in exchange for unified EMS recruitment messaging to be decaled on these highly visible vehicles.   The unified messaging will connect people to information about Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Paramedic volunteer and career opportunities.

Dutchess County Executive Sue Serino said, “This new Fly Car partnership is part of the outside-the-box thinking we are doing to tackle the EMS challenges.   Putting targeted EMS recruitment messaging on the outside of Fly Car, and adding new life-saving equipment inside, we are working to incentivize neighbors to join this vital line of work and make a career of saving lives.”

Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Will Truitt said, “While New York State may not recognize EMS as an essential service, we do here in Dutchess County.  We are focused on trying new, innovative approaches, like this Fly Car recruitment initiative, to help support and grow EMS resources throughout the county.  There is not a singular solution to solving the issues that surround the EMS crisis, and I am pleased that Dutchess County is willing to be creative with a multi-pronged approach.”


Across that nation, including here in Dutchess County, there are a multitude of challenges straining Emergency Medical Services.  The primary challenge is staffing, with fewer volunteers than ever before and the number of people entering, or getting recertified, in the EMS field on the decline, according to a 2023 EMS Sustainability report from the New York State Department of Health’s Bureau of Emergency Medical and Trauma Services.

Fewer people serving in the EMS field results in a negative impact on response time. While the industry standard for an EMS response time to a Priority 1 call, or a life-threatening emergency, should be under nine minutes 90% of the time, currently in Dutchess County, nearly 50% of those calls take nine minutes or more.

Fly cars, which are non-transporting, EMS vehicles, can have a vital role in helping people before an ambulance arrives.  Fly cars are often first on the scene of an emergency, transporting EMS first responders who can provide emergency medical services to stabilize patients and prepare them for ambulance transport if necessary.

County Executive Serino, with the Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response, has been hosting regional meetings across the County to discuss EMS data and potential solutions with municipal leaders and fire department officials.  In conversations with many local fire chiefs and rescue squad leaders, there has been an expressed need for specialized life-saving equipment on fly cars, to better equip EMS first responders to be as effective as possible on scene.   Equipment such as Lucas Chest Compression System, a portable, mechanical device that provides automated, external closed compressions to manage a cardiac arrest, can be a difference-maker in a situation where the first responder is solo at the scene for an extended period.

Under the County Executive’s proposed initiative, all Dutchess County fire departments, rescue squads and ambulance corps will be eligible to apply for up to $20,000 grant awards for life-saving equipment for their fly car vehicles. In exchange, the fly cars will feature branded, unified recruitment messaging on portions of the vehicle such as the rear windows/tailgates.  The branding will include a centralized web address on the vehicles to prompt residents to consider career and volunteer opportunities and learn more about the EMS field, including the paramedic program at Dutchess Community College and scholarship opportunities.   If approved by the County Legislature, the program will be funded with $200,000 from the County’s contingency fund.

New Hamburg Fire District Chief Jeff Renihan is highly supportive of the program.  “It is so important for our EMS responders to have the right equipment when they are the first on the scene.  Purchasing equipment like a LUCAS chest compression system is often out of reach for districts like ours, without increasing fire taxes.  We are grateful to Dutchess County Executive Sue Serino and the County Legislature for their commitment to being creative with solutions and their willingness to partner with the local fire departments. This new Fly Car program will enable our district to get critical life-saving equipment without burdening our taxpayers, while also getting out the message to help recruit new EMS first responders.  It is a win-win proposal and we look forward to partnering with the County,” said Renihan.


The fly car equipment and recruitment initiative is part of a robust, multi-pronged approach that Dutchess County is taking to support and enhance EMS.  Efforts also include the County seeking supplemental coverage to fill gaps in service and address areas where the longest response times occur, as well as ‘EMS Public Education’ to ensure people understand when call an ambulance to ensure adequate resources for priority calls.

Supporting current EMS first responders is also a priority.  To help them avoid burn out and remain in the field, the County has been providing critical training specific to the needs of these high-stress roles including Mental Health training and First Responder Resiliency training.    Hundreds of local responders have taken advantage of the various training offered so far this year.


The Dutchess County Legislature’s Public Safety Committee will consider the County Executive’s resolution for this evening at 5:30pm in the Legislature Chambers.

Author: Harlem Valley News