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Titus Mountain adding helipad for emergency responses

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MALONE - A LifeNet helicopter will now be available for skiers who suffer a life-threatening injury while at the Titus Mountain Family Ski Center in Malone.

“The helicopter will be manned with a paramedic, a nurse and a pilot,” said Doug Yando, coordinator of the ski patrol program at Titus Mountain. “It’s basically an [Intensive Care Unit] in the air.”

Mr. Yando said once the patients is in the helicopter, the crew will decide which hospital they will take the patient to – be it to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vt. or a different medical care facility.

Zach White, general manager of Titus Mountain, is working with his crew to build a helicopter pad as part of the new parking lot expansion at the base of the lower mountain, according to Mr. Yando. Tha will facilitate the ability of a helicopter to respond to emergencies on the mountain.

“LifeNet of New York offers an onboard formulary of almost 80 different medications, invasive monitoring, critical care mechanical ventilation, equipment to perform definitive airway management, surgical procedures, obstetrical dopplers, therapeutic hypothermia supplies and the cyanide toxicity antidote,” according to the LifeNet news release.

Jeff Doyle, medical base supervisor of LifeNet, is looking forward to working with the ski patrol and Titus Mountain group, according to Mr. Yando.

He noted that ski patrol will still be around and have their fully-equipped medical center with beds at both the top and bottom of the mountain.

There will still be six to seven ski patrol members at the mountain a day, according to Mr. Yando.

One helicopter will be in place, parallel to the ski patrol building, for Oktoberfest on Saturday, according to Mr. Yando. The flight crew will also be on hand.

Mr. Yando said previously Malone Rescue would come to the mountain. whether for minor bruises or life-threatening injuries. They would transport the patients to the Alice Hyde Medical Center, and, if need be, call in a helicopter to transport the patients to another hospital.

But for life-threatening injuries, Mr. Yando said “minutes can save lives.”

Mr. Yando noted that though it can varythe time it takes for the ambulance to arrive, to get the patient from where they are to where the ambulance is, to load the patient in the ambulance and then complete a trasnport to the hospital could take over 30 minutes.

“The drive is about 10 minutes one way,” he said.

Mr. Yando said the LifeNet helicopter will be traveling from its Potsdam station.

LifeNet has the coordinates of the mountain programmed in to its helicopter, according to Mr. Yando.

“They’d get there in 15 minutes,” he said.

Mr. Yando noted that every year there are between three and four life-threatening situations that occur on the mountain, such as heart attacks.

Patients transported by LifeNet will have their insurance billed, according to Mr. Yando.

But he also noted that those that don’t have insurance will still be serviced. “No one’s turned down,” he said.

Mr. Yando said ski patrol employees will be trained on what “is expected of us” when LifeNet is called into play.

Ski Patrol Director Gordon Halley said a protocol will be established between the Titus Mountain ski patrol and the mountain management team before implementing the service.

Mr. Yando said the service was looked into last year, but because they were unable to place a helicopter pad across from the ski patrol lodge, they waited.

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