|New Air Evac team will serve area, too |
|Posted: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 8:58 pm |
|Access to critical emergency health care is increasing for residents in southwestern Kentucky and the surrounding area with plans for a new air ambulance base in Mayfield. |
Air Evac Lifeteam, the largest independently-owned and operated air ambulance service in the United States, has announced plans to open a Mayfield base in mid-April. The base opening is a collaborative effort by city and county officials, hospital representatives and emergency service professionals in the region. It will be located adjacent to Jackson Purchase Medical Center.
The Mayfield Air Evac team will respond within a 70-mile radius of its base center, which includes six to eight counties. Areas such as Fulton and Hickman, Ky., will be in the new base coverage area. Martin’s Air Evac team will continue to fly air ambulance missions in the area, with the closest base being the first one called. Should the helicopter for the closest location be in use at the time of a call, the second closest base will be dispatched. Air Evac’s goal is to have overlapping coverage areas, a spokesman said.
Air Evac Lifeteam crews provide on-the-scene medical care and rapid medical transport, as well as transfers between medical facilities.
The Mayfield base will be one of 107 bases in Air Evac Lifeteam’s network of air ambulance services and the 11th in Kentucky. The base will provide employment for 12 to 15 individuals.
“This is outstanding news for Mayfield, Graves County and for the entire Purchase Region,” said Graves County executive director Don Dorris. “Not only does it help provide our community and the region with a greater ability to get to medical care quickly in the event of an accident or medical emergency, but the Air Evac base is adding some great jobs to our area.”
The placement of an air ambulance base in Mayfield was no small feat. Dorris and Mayor Teresa Cantrell met regularly with representatives from the local fire department and ambulance service, county officials, law enforcement personnel and hospital officials to make the base a reality.
“The City of Mayfield is extremely excited to have Air Evac as a part of our community,” said Ms. Cantrell. “It has been a work in progress for nearly a year now, and our work on this project will pay off not only in some great job opportunities, but also in a new level of emergency service for our local residents.”
Those sentiments were echoed by JPMC chief executive officer Fred Pelle and Graves County Judge Executive Tony Smith. “This project has been a total community effort,” said Pelle. “We appreciate the Graves Growth Alliance for its role in facilitating and coordinating all the local stakeholders whose assistance is so important.”
Smith added that “we are very excited that Air Evac decided to locate their new base in our community, particularly with their involvement with JPMC and other emergency organizations in the area, as well as the additional assets, jobs and services it will provide for our citizens here in the event they need Air Evac’s services.”
JPMC emergency room director Della Thurston also praised Air Evac Lifeteam’s arrival in Mayfield. “This is an exciting time for our emergency room,” said Ms. Thurston. “The addition of the Air Evac base at Jackson Purchase Medical Center means the overall emergency services for all patients in the region will be greatly enhanced and receive quicker care.”
An Air Evac Lifeteam crew, which includes a registered nurse, paramedic and pilot, is on call at each base 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Crew members are trained in advanced pre-hospital care, allowing them to provide medical care at the scene and continue that care en route to the hospital. This same training also allows for critical care hospital-to-hospital transfers. The Mayfield helicopter will be equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment, including the use of Night Vision Goggles (NVGs). NVGs are particularly useful on nights with little illumination in identifying emergency scene landing zones in difficult terrain, such as mountains and hills, by raising night-time vision to 20/20.
Air Evac Lifeteam president Seth Myers said the company is excited about this opportunity to better serve the southeastern Kentucky region.
“We’ve already been serving these communities from our other bases in Tennessee and Missouri,” he said. “Having a helicopter located in Mayfield will increase our ability to get patients to the medical care they need quickly. The speed at which a patient can received appropriate medical treatment can have a direct impact on the patient’s chances of survival and degree of recovery.”
“The Mayfield base is a great addition to the already quality health services available in this area,” Myers said. “We would like to thank Mayor Teresa Cantrell, Don Dorris, Jackson Purchase Medical Center, Judge Smith, city and county officials, and the residents of Graves County and the surrounding counties, for their support in the opening of this base. We look forward to working with them in serving their patients.
“The opening of this base is part of an ever-expanding commitment by Air Evac Lifeteam and the health care community in this region to improve access to trauma care for residents of western Kentucky,” he added.
“Our goal is to be an extension of the quality medical services already in place by providing rapid transport in critical medical situations.”
Air Evac Lifeteam was one of the first air ambulance services in the country to offer a membership program.
Members pay an annual fee and, if they are flown by Air Evac, they do not have to pay for the flight. Memberships are valid throughout Air Evac Lifeteam service areas, so members are covered while traveling through Air Evac Lifeteam service areas. Annual memberships are $50 for an individual, $55 for a couple and $60 for a household of three or more.
For more information about Air Evac Lifeteam services or employment opportunities, call 1-800-793-0010 or visit www.lifeteam.net.
Published in The Messenger 3.28.12