Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

May 16, 2013

Life Flights

Lowndes County welcomes AirLife Georgia

VALDOSTA — Perhaps nothing is as indicative of the potential impact of AirLife Georgia’s new base at Valdosta Regional Airport than this example: At the ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony Wednesday, the local crew on duty was absent, having been called out to Jasper County in Florida to transport a patient to South Georgia Medical Center.

“I told Jeff See, our vice president, ‘you know, we’re going to get a flight in the middle of this thing, right?’ And sure enough, we did,” said Jeff Clifton, a flight paramedic with AirLife Georgia.

It was the fifth mission for the new base since it started operation a couple of weeks ago.

“Opening this new base is about plugging a hole in coverage,” said See, regional vice president for Air Methods, AirLife Georgia’s parent company. “When someone needs emergency-medical assistance, there’s this golden window of 60 minutes; if you can get the patient to the hospital in that window, there’s a significantly better survival rate.”

Air Methods has grown since its 1980 inception and now has bases in 46 states, with a roster of 330 helicopters and 110 fixed-wing planes for longer distance transfers.

The Valdosta base is equipped with an A-Star, a light, single-engine helicopter. Flight crews consist of one pilot, one nurse, and one paramedic. The crew is fully operating within an average time of six minutes between the base receiving the call and taking off.

“The citizens of this county and surrounding counties need air medical support,” said Amy Boutwell, Air Methods regional clinical director. “Our crew can reach anywhere in Lowndes County.”

With an average speed of two miles a minute and a fuel rate of 150 miles on a full tank, AirLife crews can reach a wide radius. Space in the A-Star is limited to a three-person crew and one patient. For accidents with two patients, a second helicopter must be alerted. Exceptions can be made, however, for a parent of a small child that needs emergency medical attention.

Of course, the crew does more than just transport patients.

“It’s basically an intensive-care unit with a rotor,” said Russell McDaniel, Air Methods regional business manager. “Our nurses and paramedics come to us with a boatload of experience and the A-Star is equipped to treat a number of life-threatening injuries.”

“If you’ve ever needed one and it wasn’t available, you know how important they are,” said Hahira Mayor Wayne Bullard at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

In addition to adding better medical flight coverage to the area, AirLife will be training regionally, bringing jobs to the area.

“We like to be part of the community we’re in and, informally, part of the local medical community,” said McDaniel. “We want to operate as an extension.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ARociewilliams_002.jpg Woman shares nearly a century of lessons

    With nearly 100 years of life under her belt, Ocie Viola Williams has plenty of advice to share with the world. Her top two pieces of advice: know the importance of education and don’t expect a teacher to raise your child for you. 

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • psst1 photo page copy.jpg PSST! finishes peachy season

    Peach State Summer Theatre concluded its 2014 season Sunday, a season which broke attendance records for the professional musical theatre company.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_2381.jpeg Award-winning young professionals share success secrets

    The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber’s MetroOne Young Professionals hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday at the Hilton Garden Inn to highlight successful business practices.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140726_summerlibrary002.jpg Library celebrates end of summer reading program

    With the first day of school just around the corner, students are soaking in the last few weeks of summer vacation. The end of summer also means the end of the South Georgia Regional Library’s 2014 summer reading program.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • artseason1 copy.jpg A sneak peek at some area arts organizations’ 2014-15 seasons

    Beethoven. Tennessee Williams. Non-stop art. Two versions of “The Wizard of Oz.” The 2014-15 arts season is coming.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • sabalmap.jpg Sabal Trail explains its position

    Representatives from Sabal Trail Transmission recently sat down with The Times to provide an update on the ongoing pipeline and potential economic development opportunities associated with the project.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514-MoodyComp007.jpg Moody AFB crews race in load competition

    Moody Air Force Base hosted a weapons load competition Friday morning, a maintenance group tradition in which two 23d Maintenance Group A-10 munition load crews raced against the clock to load munitions onto an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • moonshine bust.jpg Police close illegal drinking house

    After receiving numerous complaints, the Valdosta Police Department shut down an illegal alcohol sales operation Friday.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • election.jpg Black earns most votes in runoff

    State Rep. Ellis Black led the votes for state Senate District 8 Friday with seven of seven counties reporting certified results, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140724-LAT1.jpg Little Actors Theatre ready for summer show

    Since 2004, the Little Actors Theatre has provided a place for children ages 6 to 19 to express themselves through acting.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results