Thursday, July 20, 2017

Erlanger Health System announces arrival of LIFE FORCE 6 Helicopter

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Erlanger Health System has announced the arrival of a new LIFE FORCE 6 helicopter that will serve patients in western North Carolina.

Erlanger says the aircraft arrived at Erlanger Baroness Hospital Wednesday afternoon in order to be equipped for its inaugural medical flight set for August 15. The LIFE FORCE 6 helicopter will be based at Western Carolina Regional Airport in Andrews, North Carolina.

The new aircraft is a H135 with Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). Meaning that in mountainous regions, like where LIFE FORCE 6 will be based, aircraft not equipped with IFR can frequently get fogged in and are unable to answer patient transport requests.

With the addition of this aircraft, Erlanger says patients in the Murphy region will have quicker access to a higher level of care with increased safety. Erlanger says the addition of the new LIFE FORCE helicopter brings the LIFE FORCE fleet to six total helicopters – four dual engine aircraft equipped with IFR and two single-engine aircraft that use visual flight rules, or VFR.

Erlanger says LIFE FORCE provides a clinical team for medical operations and Med Trans Corporation provides pilots and mechanics for the aeromedical service, along with the aircraft. Med Trans equips the LIFE FORCE fleet with Airbus H135 helicopters and Bell 407 helicopters.

Erlanger says LIFE FORCE has provided air medical transport to the Chattanooga region for more than 27 years and operates five bases in Tennessee and Georgia that cover 50,000 square miles. They are accredited by the commission for accreditation of medical transport systems and is nationally ranked as one of the highest performing air medical services in the country. On average, the company flies approximately 2,500 patients each year and is the only air ambulance program in the region that carries ultrasound, blood and plasma and is credentialed by physicians at Erlanger to perform emergency surgical procedures. All flight nurses and paramedics are board certified in critical care transport and LIFE FORCE is one of only 5% of the programs in the country that has achieved this standard.

NewsChannel 9's Alyssa Spirato rode along with a Life Force pilot. To see that story and learn more, you can click here.

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