The new Airlift service will operate out of Pangborn Airport in Wenatchee. The twin-engine helicopter re-establishes the non-profit helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) in the area after its 12-year absence; Airlift previously had a base here between the 1990s and 2007.
“Being able to respond quicker for the transport needs of Confluence (Medical Center) and the other facilities in Central Washington was important to us,” said Jonas Landstorm, the organization’s Central Washington regional manager. “So, when we looked at the places where we could put in an additional aircraft, we felt that Wenatchee would be a good central location to be able to support the area.”
In addition to collecting patients from emergency sites, the aircraft will also transport between facilities. “You have Omak, Brewster, Lake Chelan, Quincy and all these smaller facilities,” noted Landstorm. “So, it’s not just transporting to Seattle, but also being able to provide quick and efficient transports into Confluence from these smaller, outlying facilities.”
And Base Manager Suzanne Beck explained that timing is everything when it comes to emergency medicine - Airlift’s goal is to be in the air within five to seven minutes of a dispatch. “Right now, the way we have our quarters designed, we can grab our helmets, the meds, and the blood are all right there,” she said.
And Beck also noted that the time it takes to complete the take-off process (including weather and safety checks) can increase slightly in the winter. As such, it’s fantastic that communities local to the region now have access to Airlift Northwest’s new service based in Wenatchee. AirMed&Rescue wishes them every success in their future missions.