New emergency helicopter here | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | October 12, 2017 5:00 am
Last Updated: October 11, 2017 at 11:43 am
“It’s still got that new helicopter smell,” Colleton County Fire-Rescue Chief Barry McRoy said when asked how the first few weeks have gone for the new medical emergency helicopter placed in service last month.
The C.A.R.E. (Colleton Air Rescue Evac) Flight Medical Helicopter Program, a partnership between Med-Trans and Colleton County Fire-Rescue, took delivery on the new Bell 407 GXP helicopter on Sept. 22.
The partnership between Med-Trans and Fire-Rescue involves staffing the flight crew.
Under the terms of the agreement, Med-Trans provides the helicopter, pilot, mechanic and flight nurse. Fire-Rescue provides the paramedics.
While those assigned to the helicopter have all the needed certification for paramedics, those joining the flight crews had to make it through Med-Trans application process and complete their training.
Three of the Colleton County paramedics assigned to the program are already flight paramedic certified. Three others are working their way through the certification process.
Those designated backup paramedics for the helicopter, McRoy said, are being routinely assigned a shift on the helicopter “in order to maintain their skills.”
McRoy explained that Med-Trans ordered the helicopter when it signed an agreement with Colleton Medical Center to take over the operation of the medical emergency helicopter service based at the medical center.
Because it would take several months to take delivery on the new aircraft, Med-Trans stationed a helicopter that was on stand-by to the Walterboro facility.
The medical center leases the helipad and living quarters for the helicopter’s crew to Med-Trans.
When the new helicopter arrived at Lowcountry Regional Airport, Med-Trans and Fire-Rescue personnel removed medical supplies from the older helicopter and installed them in the new aircraft.
All of the inspections were completed and the new air ambulance was placed into service that afternoon. Before the first day was over, the new medical copter handled two transports.
McRoy said the new aircraft has been averaging approximately one flight a day.
The new helicopter is the same size as the backup one it replaced and larger than the helicopter stationed in Walterboro by the last medical helicopter provider.
The new helicopter, McRoy added, has a larger lifting capability. The former provider’s helicopter had less lifting capability, requiring them to set limitations on patient size.
Because of the greater lifting ability, he said, another person can be added to the three-person flight crew to assist in the treatment of some patients while in-flight.