Exchange Ambulance of the Islips is a volunteer non-profit organization that has been providing Emergency Medical Service to the communities of East Islip, Islip, Islip Terrace, & Great River since 1951. Exchange Ambulance of the Islips also provides EMS assistance to the residents of Fire Island via the Suffolk County Police Department Marine Bureau as well as mutual aid to our neighboring departments as needed. Our district stretches from Connetquot Avenue in Great River to Saxon Avenue in Islip and from the South Shore to Spur Drive on the north end including all of Hecksher State Park and parts of Connetquot State Park, 2 school districts, and 4 fire districts.
We respond to approximately 3,000 calls a year for emergency medical assistance. Calls for emergency medical assistance are answered by our five New York State Department of Health Certified ambulances and two First Response vehicles which are staffed by a minimum of an Emergency Medical Technician – Basic (EMT-B). Many of our EMS providers are also certified to provide Advanced Life Support (EMT- Critical Care and EMT – Paramedic) which includes establishing IV’s, administering medications, EKG interpretation including 12-Lead EKG’s, intubation, defibrillation, cardioversion, external pacing, and many other advanced skills.
Besides answering calls for emergency medical assistance, Exchange Ambulance also provides “standby” EMS services for special events such as concerts, sporting events, and other large gatherings of people. Our Special Operations vehicle is equipped with large amounts of supplies and specialized equipment to handle these “standby’s” as well as large numbers of injuries in the event of a large scale disaster. An EMS Bike Patrol unit and All Terrain Vehicles assist us in providing medical care in any situation, be it a crowded concert or parade or a remote wooded area. Chemical protective suits and respirators are also stocked in case of a hazardous materials accident or act of terrorism. Due to our specialized equipment and experience in handling theses types of events, Exchange Ambulance has been called upon to provide our assistance for large scale events throughout Suffolk County.
Our volunteers are highly dedicated, spending hundreds, and in many cases, thousands of hours every year training to become the best possible EMS providers. Exchange Ambulance has also dedicated itself to having the best equipment available to provide EMS care. Recent upgrades to our department include:
12-Lead EKG’s which are taken in the field and transmitted to the receiving hospital Emergency Room fax machine thereby reducing the time to life saving treatments for patients suffering from a heart attack. A 12 Lead EKG provides a better view of heart’s electrical activity when a heart attack is suspected. A doctor in the emergency room can actually see this 12 lead EKG before the ambulance has even left the scene and better prepare for the arrival of the patient. 12 Leads are now being done by both our ALS and BLS providers in the field.
Capnography which assists advanced providers when performing intubation to ensure that the procedure was done correctly and that the intubation tube has not moved during transport of the patient. Intubation is a procedure to place a tube into the airway of a patient who is not breathing to ensure the airway remains open.
CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure which is an improved treatment for patients suffering from respitory distress due to congestive heart failure. This innovative technology can reduce the need for placing these patients on ventilators and reduce the amount of time spent in the hospital. This is another skill that can be performed by trained BLS providers as well as all ALS providers.
A mechanical system for providing chest compressions for patients in cardiac arrest. This system provides improved blood flow more consistently than manual CPR, thereby improving the chances of survival from cardiac arrest. This system also allows other procedures to be performed without having to interrupt chest compressions.