Mercy Flight Finds New Home in Oneida County for the Summer
April 27, 2015
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  • In medical emergencies, the time it takes to get to the hospital, can be the difference between life and death.   And for those living in rural areas – it’s an even greater concern.  On Monday, Oneida County announced a new partnership that could be a life-saving tool.

    In a split second lives can change.  And you want to know that the area you live in equipped to do whatever it takes to save lives–and today the Mohawk Valley became better equipped.

    “We’ve been trying to get them here for a while.  We’re looking at this to be a trial period for over the summer months,” says Anthony Picente, Oneida County Executive.

    Between June 5th and Labor Day weekend a mercy flight helicopter will call the Griffiss International Airport home between 7 a.m. until 9 p.m.–seven days a week.

    “We very much feel that the Mohawk Valley is undeserved right now if you look now the helicopters are kind of all around it but not in it.  Now we’ll be in it and part of the community in a very special way,” says Jeff Bartkoski, Mercy Flight.

    Up until now–the helicopter served oneida county but from a base in Marcellus–about 80 miles away.  Responders can now cut down on travel time and use specialized equipment to save lives.

    “Everything that you would traditionally carry in an ICU is carried in a very small fashion in the back of this aircraft.  There isn’t any difference between and ICU and under our care,” says Donald Kane, paramedic.

    But even outside of the public safety aspect–the oneida county executive says this is just another good sign for the airport.

    “You have Syracuse, you have Albany.  Why an airport?  Well you have an airport because we have a need for general aviation, we have the need for economic development but more importantly we have the need for public safety.  And hopefully it’ll be something that’s long term and can grown,” Picente says.

    This is just a trial period for the summer.  Mercy Flight says they would need to buy another helicopter to permanently keep an aircraft at Griffiss.  And the costs of the service are covered under the public safety portion coming in from the gaming funds.