The new base will host a 24/7 air medical helicopter, an Augusta-Westland AW109E, bringing the total number of helicopters serving the region from three to four. The aircraft, pilot and crew will serve Coupeville and nearby communities, as well as the broader Puget Sound region, including the San Juan Islands. The new base is the second of Life Flight’s northwest Washington locations – the first being in Port Angeles, and the two service areas will support one another when the demand for air medical response is high.
"Helicopter air ambulance response is an essential healthcare service for a fast-growing urban area with traffic congestion among the worst in the country, in addition to some of the most challenging landscapes due to large bodies of water," said Dr Jim Bryan, Life Flight Network Medical Director. "During a medical emergency, every second counts. Helicopters are uniquely suited to respond to emergencies over bodies of water and during peak traffic times, when gridlock challenges ground ambulances to move quickly and safely."
The new AW109E is equipped with the medical equipment necessary to act as a mobile intensive care unit, with the ability to perform a multitude of highly skilled medical functions during transport, including video laryngoscopes, ICU level ventilators and blood products for emergency transfusions.
"Partnering with Life Flight Network to provide locally-based air medical transport is an unequivocal advantage to both WhidbeyHealth EMS and our community," said Sean LeVine, Assistant Manager of WhidbeyHealth EMS. "Life Flight Network's exemplary history of providing safe and compassionate care is consistent with the WhidbeyHealth mission. We welcome Life Flight Network and look forward to working with them."
The base is expected to be in operation from late summer 2019.