Meet Our Team

Dr. Brian M. Walters, Medical Director

Dr. Brian Walters began his medical career as a volunteer EMT, and later worked as an EMT-Intermediate for Twin City Ambulance while completing his undergraduate degree.  He graduated from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and then completed an Emergency Medicine residency at the University of Buffalo.  He is board certified in Emergency Medicine and a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians and American Academy of Emergency Medicine.

Dr. Walters served as the Director of Emergency Services for the Upper Allegheny Health System overseeing local emergency departments for several years before returning to his roots and taking a more active role in EMS.  He currently serves as the medical director for the Chautauqua County Office of Emergency Services’ 4th Battalion, Alstar, and the Southern Tier Regional Paramedic Program.  He is also the medical director for two tactical medical teams that provide medical support for area Hazmat and SWAT operations, and is active in many state and national EMS and tactical EMS organizations.

In addition to being chair of the WREMAC, Dr. Walters also sits on the State Emergency Medical Advisory Committee (SEMAC) for NYS.  He teaches and lectures frequently throughout the area, and teaches Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) for the National Center for Security and Preparedness, and the NY State Preparedness Training Center.
  

Dr. Michael Faulk, Medical Director

Dr. Faulk's interest in Emergency Medicine and EMS began in 1992 after taking an EMT class at Jamestown Community College. While working with Busti and Kiantone Fire Departments, and later ALSTAR ambulance service during his undergraduate and graduate educations, Dr. Faulk's future solidified. Following medical school, and Emergency Medicine Residency specialty training at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, he returned to his roots in Western NY.  Dr. Faulk currently serves as the Medical Director of W.C.A. Hospital's Emergency Department and Starflight Medevac while maintaining board certification in Emergency Medicine through the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM). Dr. Faulk states, "It is an honor to be working with the skilled and dedicated individuals who provide our region with high quality, efficient prehospital care during difficult times of injury and illness. I am proud to be a part of this amazing team."
  
Krissta Swanson, Chief Flight Nurse

In August of 2016, Krissta Swanson, longtime employee of W.C.A. Services Corporation and Starflight assumed the role of Chief Flight Nurse. Having had an interest in the EMS field from a young age, she knew her place would be on the helicopter that flew over her childhood home on a regular basis.

Krissta's career in EMS started shortly after graduating from Jamestown High School. During this time she began to volunteer with the Randolph Fire Department and took an EMT class offered through Cattaraugus County at the Great Valley Fire Department.


In 2005, shortly after earning her EMT Certification, Krissta was hired by ALSTAR EMS as a basic EMT. She continued her education through the Paramedic Program offered by Corning Community College, through distance learning at JCC's Olean campus. Following the completion of the paramedic program, she was hired on as a full time paramedic by ALSTAR EMS. For many years she served Chautauqua County and surrounding areas in this role by providing emergency medical care.

In June of 2009, Krissta started her long awaited career with Starflight as a Flight Paramedic. To further her education, she attended Jamestown Community College and earned her registered nurse degree. Krissta maintains a nursing license in both New York and Pennsylvania. She also holds a national certification in Emergency Nursing (CEN), and is a nationally registered paramedic.


  Flight Communication Specialists

Our communication specialists for ALSTAR EMS are also trained as flight followers for Starflight air medevac. These highly trained specialists undergo intensive training for the entire duration of their careers. All of the flight communication specialists are NAACS certified flight communicators.

When a flight request is dispatched through Medial Communications (MEDCOM) the dispatcher who is assigned “flight desk” for that shift is now dedicated to that single flight. This means that until that transport is over, that specific flight communication specialist focuses only on that aircraft and communicates with the destination hospital and other flight originations. Our team follows a process for every flight to ensure that all information is gathered about the flight request and that it is properly relayed to the flight team. The flight communication specialists also maintain open communication with the pilots during flight and if the transport requires an on scene landing, they work with the requesting agency to relay the landing information to the appropriate crew members. These pre-determined landing zones have been identified and available in Chautauqua County, Cattaraugus County and parts of Pennsylvania.

The flight communication specialists track the medevac helicopters using a program called SkyTrac among many other standard dispatching technologies to communicate with the flight team while they are airborne. Through having a dedicated flight communication specialist on every flight, each trip completed by the Starflight team will ensure the patient a quick and safe transport to the destination facility.
  
  Flight Nurses

Starflight’s flight nurses have a combined 170 years of nursing experience. They trained near and far and have worked in progressive care units, neuro ICU, cardiovascular ICU, trauma ICU and cardiac ICUs, labor and delivery units and Emergency Departments from Cleveland, to Austin, New York and Chicago. They have worked at all of the local hospitals, and tertiary care facilities that we take our patients to. They have all settled in the area made their homes here and strive to provide the best nursing care to the sickest patients under the most difficult and changeable conditions imaginable. They all say they “like to make a difference” that they feel they “actually can save a life from time to time”.  The average flight nurse has 8.5 years of FLIGHT NURSING experience, with the range from a new flight nurse to 29 year veteran flight nurse. All of the flight nurses are also EMTs. Fully half of the flight nurses also maintain a paramedic credential as well.

These highly trained, motivated and dedicated nurses join their FLIGHT Paramedic partner to be ready for anything, and care for the patients with compassion and expertise.
  
  Flight Paramedics

The flight paramedics are hired by ALSTAR EMS and can be assigned to the helicopter and hangar after at least 3 years in a busy 9-1-1 ambulance system. They bring excellent “street” skills with them, and are mentored and taught to handle the ICU side of the most critical patients. An “average” medic has 14.7 years in EMS and 6.3 as a flight medic. Their job as a flight medic is to manage the airways, perform medication assisted intubations, start IVs, give meds as well as direct patient care during “scene” responses.  The credentials they must maintain include licensure in NY and Pennsylvania as well as Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), International Trauma Life Support (ITLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and Neonatal Resuscitation (NRP). The medics will all obtain either national registry credentialing, critical care paramedic certificate, or certified flight paramedic within 2 years of hire.
  
Pilots

Our program is unique in that we fly all medical transport flights with two pilots in the cockpit. This provides an additional level of safety and a greater measure of comfort to families that entrust their loved ones to our care. All Starflight pilots are special deputies employed by the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office. All have completed extensive training and evaluation to meet rigorous standards imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration. To operate our aircraft as a Pilot in Command (PIC), we require an FAA issued, commercial helicopter pilot license, 1250 hours of total flying experience, an instrument rating and a minimum of 1000 hours flight experience in helicopters and 100 hours at night. All of our PICs far exceed these minimum requirements. Similar but somewhat less stringent requirements exist for consideration as Second in Command (PIC). Our pilots come from a very diverse range of aviation backgrounds including, owner operators, law enforcement, flight instruction, pipeline patrol, air ambulance operations, US military and business jet charter. This diversity serves Starflight well in meeting the challenges of a complex and dynamic operation designed to meet the medical needs of the community we serve.
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