Survival Flight Inc., an emergency medical helicopter transportation company based in Mesa, Arizona, is going to call Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center home later this month.
The air ambulance service will provide a crew 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the hospital, as well as one Bell 407 helicopter.
The company is dedicated to air medical transportation that is focused on the quality of care to patients and their safety with aviation medical transportation. Its mission and purpose is serving customers with unsurpassed and rapid medical services to save lives.
Steven Perry, base clinical manager for the Russellville base, said the company's CEO and personnel were excited about coming to Russellville. Not only will the helicopter buy fuel from Russellville Regional Airport, but the helicopter will be moved to a hangar at the airport in case of inclement weather or routine maintenance.
"Saint Mary's reached out and showed some interest," Perry explained. "They had heard of the concept we came up with, partnerships with local hospitals. There was a need for air ambulance services to be close to hospitals to transfer patients out, so the concept was created to base our helicopter and crew at a hospital.
"The most important part of this joint venture is the relationship between the hospital and our company. When they reached out to us, it was a perfect opportunity. The main thing I would like everybody to know is that we got here through the relationship with Saint Mary's."
Survival Flight Inc. already has bases at the White River Medical Center in Batesville and the White County Unity Hospital in Searcy. Perry said future plans include putting a couple more bases in Arkansas by the end of the year. The company also has bases in Missouri and Illinois.
Perry explained the services Survival Flight can provide include ensuring patients get complete focus and expertise to preserve and enhance their safety until they are transported to the medical care they require.
"We say if we are called to a scene, more than likely that is the worst day of that patient's life. We want to be the best part of that day," Perry said. "To do that, you have to access them quickly. We are going to be centrally located in Russellville. But in the end, it is all about ETAs (estimated times of arrival).
"If there's an accident on Interstate 40, someone will call us and ask for an ETA. We will give them one, and they may call other services to see if there is one closer. We want the general public in this area to know we are here to provide a service."
Survival Flight uses Bell 407 helicopters. Another advantage of the 407 is that a third person can ride with the EMT and patient, Perry pointed out.
"We pick you up at the scene, we can take a third rider with us. It's a bad day, again the worst day in someone's life. It works to have another person to be able to go. Kids are a million times better if they have a parent in the helicopter with them. There's no better helicopter in this area for EMS than the Bell 407."
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