Life Flight Network, the largest not-for-profit air medical transport service in the United States, is opening a new base at the William R. Fairchild International Airport in Port Angeles, Washington. The base will be operational beginning March 29, 2019. Life Flight Network’s highly trained flight crew at the Port Angeles base will provide ICU level care to communities in Clallam, Jefferson and Island counties and will be capable of responding to calls for transport from anywhere in Western Washington and Southeast Alaska.
“Life Flight Network has served Washington communities for 41 years and we are excited to expand our presence and reach in the state, while also increasing our capacity to provide air medical transport service to Southeast Alaska,” said Michael Griffiths, CEO of Life Flight Network. “It is our privilege to serve the region alongside hospitals and emergency response agencies.”
The addition of a base in Port Angeles will enhance essential emergency medical services in Washington State by providing emergency medical air transport to the Olympic Peninsula, Whidbey Island and surrounding communities where patients previously had to wait for aircraft to come from the east side of Puget Sound or south from Bremerton. A large portion of the Olympic Peninsula was previously one of few areas in the state unreachable by air ambulance within a 30-minute response time.
“As a designated level III trauma center with frequent need for medical air transports, OMC and nearby communities would benefit by having advanced medical flight capabilities located at William Fairchild International Airport. Time to transfer can be critical for our trauma, cardiac, and stroke patients,” says Dr. Scott Kennedy, Chief Medical Officer at Olympic Medical Center.
“The new base is an asset to the region and will help improve response times and patient outcomes for residents of the area,” said Port Angeles Fire Chief Ken Dubuc. “The presence of an air medical operation in our community will strengthen emergency response capabilities.”
Each Life Flight Network helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft 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.
Life Flight Network will station an Agusta-Westland AW109 helicopter at its Port Angeles base. The AW109 is an Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) capable aircraft, allowing safe operation in a range of weather conditions. The AW109 is one of the fastest light helicopters available and can cruise at 172 miles per hour. For example, the AW109 can make the trip from Port Angeles to Seattle in 27 minutes.
Life Fight Network will also station a Pilatus PC-12 fixed-wing aircraft in Port Angeles. The PC-12 is very versatile, and capable of operating from short runways to large international airports. The PC-12 cruises at 310 miles per hour and has a range of over 1,800 miles. The PC-12 based in Port Angeles will allow Life Flight Network to serve a greater geographic area, including southeast Alaska. It can make the trip from Port Angeles to Seattle in 25 minutes.
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