The FDNY will spend $5 million to introduce 10 additional SUVs that respond to emergency situations faster than ambulances and fire trucks, officials said.
The new “fly cars” will were introduced this summer and will serve the Bronx as part of the six-month pilot program.
Fly cars are driven by paramedics and respond to life-threatening situations faster than other emergency vehicles, authorities said. In theory, they'll be able to stabilize patients until an ambulance arrives.
"In this vehicle assigned with two paramedics is a full set of paramedic equipment," said FDNY EMS Chief James Booth. "This enables them to perform advanced life-saving procedures at the scene of the incident."
"Everything that the emergency room has, we bring to you. All the IVs, all the advanced airway resources are all included in this equipment,' said Booth.
In the last few years, FDNY ambulances have taken longer to get to the scene of a medical emergency: in 2015, the average response to a life-threatening call was 9 minutes and 22 seconds. In 2014, it was 9 minutes and 13 seconds.
Fire officials hope the fly cars will reduce response times by 23 seconds.
They said response times have gone up because call volume has soared: last year, they responded to more than 550,000 life-threatening emergencies, a 17-percent jump over the year before.
"This is a result of years of neglect that has happened," said Vincent Variale of the Uniformed EMS Officers Union. "We still need additional support."
Variale said fly cars could help but "it has to be properly funded and staffed, you can't just do it and throw it out there and put out additional workload."
He said paramedics would still need more resources -- like GPS units in ambulances -- to help bring down the amount of time patients have to wait before getting emergency aid.
If the pilot is successful, the program will expand citywide.