Air ambulance provider Survival Flight began operating services in northern Florida on 1 February in partnership with Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare (TMH).
The service, which will operate from TMH’s hospital in Tallahessee, will offer emergency transport services within a 190-km radius, transferring critical patients to the hospital’s Bixler Trauma & Emergency Center – the region’s only Level II Trauma Center.
The service will be operational 24/7, and will employ a Bell 407 helicopter alongside a dedicated crew of around 15 people. Crew members will include pilots, paramedics, flight nurses, a mechanic and a base leader.
The air ambulance will be used both to transport patients from rural facilities to the TMH hospital, and to respond to incidents in collaboration with local emergency services.
TMH says that it anticipates working with a range of partner facilities within the service’s operational radius, such as George E. Weems Memorial Hospital in Apalachicola, Doctors’ Memorial Hospital in Perry, Calhoun-Liberty Hospital in Blountstown, to accept patients via the helicopter.
The service is expected to significantly improve medical access across rural counties
The service is the first of its kind in the region, and the 21st location across the US Southeast and Midwest under the Survival Flight umbrella. It is expected to greatly improve access to care for patients across the region, particularly in rural areas.
“It won’t take long for the community to start hearing and seeing testimonies from patients and families saying that the helicopter saved their lives,” said Harold Newton, Regional Director for Survival Flight. “It will make a difference in somebody’s life the very first day it’s in the air.”
“In some of our rural counties, they may only have one or two ambulances available at any given time,” said Kyrie Thomas, Executive Director of Emergency Services at TMH. “The helicopter is breaking down a barrier for these rural patients who need rapid access to a higher level of care.”