Submitted by the Erie County Department of Health
The Erie County Department of Health has taken an important step to making its ambulance service and training academy a reality for residents and visitors to Erie County, filling two leadership positions as of July 31. Karyn Krytus will serve as director of ambulance services and Donald Turner III will be paramedic program director.
First announced in the State of the County address in April, Erie County’s plan will establish a countywide ambulance service. As designed, the program – with five ambulances and two fly cars – will increase ambulance availability, particularly in the southern, rural areas of Erie County, and support volunteer agencies. ECDOH expects ambulances to be equipped, available and in service this fall.
“Erie County has a strong network of fire and EMS volunteers who devote themselves to making sure that, when people in their community have a life-threatening injury or illness, transportation to a hospital is quickly available,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said. “But discussions with those volunteer companies revealed that parts of that system are stretched and strained. Our program will close those gaps, contribute to faster response times and get injured or ill people to the medical care they need; this program is going to save lives.”
Along with the ambulance service, Erie County will coordinate a paramedic training program to educate current volunteers and professionals, and also build a new cohort of trained and skilled paramedics.
“Looking at the workforce aspect of our local medical services, we need to start training people now for the volunteer and professional emergency response roles of the future,” Poloncarz said.
Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein added, “Emergency medical services are a crucial bridge between public health and health care. We’re proud that this program will expand the pool of available ambulances and paramedics. Vehicle accidents, acute medical conditions, drug poisonings, acts of violence and other traumas require the fastest-possible transport to clinical care for the best possible outcomes.”
Krytus was previously ECDOH’s public health emergency preparedness coordinator. She has experience as a training supervisor, in communicable disease case investigations and in 911 dispatch. Turner has extensive experience as an emergency medical services instructor and in quality assurance and quality improvement. He has held multiple leadership roles with the Grand Island Fire Co., and is a member of the Wyoming-Erie Regional Emergency Medical Services Council. Moving forward, Krytus and Turner will hire additional staff and build out ambulance coverage and training schedules.
Erie County Department of Health, division of emergency medical services: https://www.erie.gov/ems