Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Duncan Valley Rural Fire District emergency helipad is dedicated, Life Net assists

The Duncan Valley Rural Fire District has taken one more step in further modernizing the critical services it provides to the public. It now has a helipad, a new facility specifically designated for emergency services helicopters to land.

The helipad’s grand opening and dedication were held Monday, Feb. 10, at the DVRFD station located on Fairgrounds Road, just off of State Route 75.

Fire Chief Hayden Boyd said the pad has already seen some use, but it now has lighting and a wind sock to assist chopper pilots, especially at night.

A medical evacuation chopper and crew from Life Net were on hand to participate in the grand opening. “Of course many people have seen a helicopter flying overhead, but this will be a great opportunity to see one close up,” Boyd said prior to the opening ceremony.

An emergency services chopper helipad also exists at the Gila Health Resources clinic in Morenci, 37 miles from Duncan.

Duncan native and Town Council member Doug Barlow said, “To some folks it may not seem like a big deal, but it is. This helps ensure a medical transport chopper has a safe place to land. Combined with the excellent service provided by the Greenlee County Ambulance Service stationed here in Duncan, it is a real plus for Duncan and the entire Duncan Valley.”

The closest full-service hospital is located in Safford, about 40 miles away. In the event of more serious injures, such as those sustained in a major car crash, patients are flown to Tucson, which is about a three-hour trip by ground ambulance.

“We certainly have our share of car wrecks and other incidents in which people are seriously injured and need to be taken as quickly as possible to a facility where they can be best taken care of,” Barlow said.

He added, “There’s a lot to be grateful for between the Duncan Valley Fire District and Greenlee County Ambulance crews and emergency helicopter service. The same goes for the Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office. Living out here in isolated, very rural Arizona, this means a lot.”

Boyd said the ceremony will be short and the public’s attendance will be greatly appreciated.

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