Fort Drum, NY, Mar 15, 2012 — It's been five years since the North Country had emergency air service. But that's about to change. Air Methods Corporation plans to begin operating medical helicopters in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties in June. The company is opening new air medical bases in Watertown and Potsdam.
The military previously provided air ambulance service in the region, through a program at Fort Drum called the MAST mission. Since it was removed, Fort Drum health officials say there have been more than 500 emergency cases in the region that qualified for air flight, but weren't able to get it.
Fort Drum has been working with the North Country EMS Program Agency to secure med-flights. Ann Smith, the agency director, says the new air medical bases in Watertown and Potsdam will each be staffed with four pilots, eight medical crew members, and one mechanic. The service will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Julie Grant reports.