Friday, May 13, 2016

Air Methods medical helicopter base set to reopen in West Yellowstone year round

Air Methods announces the reopening of the air medical helicopter base serving the greater Yellowstone region. In conjunction with Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC), the Air Idaho Rescue program will extend care to Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, the Gallatin National Forest and the Madison River valley. The West Yellowstone base commences 24/7/365 operations on May 23.

“We are honored to have a base at America’s first national park, and to bring our air medical resources to the residents and visitors of the greater Yellowstone region,” said Christina Brodsly, Air Methods spokesperson. “A majority of the call volume is tourist-related within the park, from buffalo and bear attacks to cardiac arrests. We’re here to bring critical care to those in need.”

Air Methods previously operated a season base at the West Yellowstone airport between the months of May and September in 2014, but will now be expanding to a permanent 24/7 base that will operate year round.

“We not only want to help the tourists during the summer season, we want to be able to help the entire community year round,” Air Methods Regional Business Manager Michael Jenkins said. “Our care is the same as that found in an advanced life-support ambulance, only we fly. We think we can do a lot of good by being here.”

The new year round base will be staffed by Air Idaho Rescue personnel (flight nurse, flight paramedic, pilot and mechanic), creating 15 new jobs. The helicopter is equipped with a variety of critical care supplies and medications found in a hospital emergency room or ICU. These include items such as oxygen, airway resuscitation equipment, heart monitor/defibrillator, suction, IV pump and fluids, specialized monitor/testing equipment, ventilators, and emergency medications.

Flying from West Yellowstone to the clinic in Lake is 22 nautical miles, and the crew can fly to Lake and anywhere in the park in 12 minutes. A flight from Lake to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls would then take around 45 to 50 minutes.

“When we were here on a seasonal basis, we were finding that people don’t stop needing medical care after 10:00 at night. We decided that it would benefit everyone if we were available around the clock.” Jenkins said. “Our motto is ‘Defenders of tomorrow’ and we want to give as many tomorrows to people as we can.”

Air Methods has additional fixed wing and rotor wing air ambulances throughout the region – including one airplane in Idaho Falls, Idaho at EIRMC, and helicopters in surrounding markets. The aircraft is fully outfitted with night vision goggle technology, which enhances visibility during night transports so crews can better detect hazards and obstructions and have greater situational awareness. Further, the aircraft has a standard suite of advanced cockpit technologies to keep crews and patients safe and enhance the safety of operations.

Original article can be found here:

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