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Air Evac expands its coverage area

By Staff | Mar 31, 2010

Air Evac Lifeteam, an independently-owned air ambulance provider, has expanded its service area in northern West Virginia with the opening of a base in Wetzel County. The base is housed on the grounds of the Wetzel County Hospital (3 E. Benjamin Drive, New Martinsville).

The Wetzel County base is one of 90 bases in Air Evac Lifeteam’s network of air ambulance services and the third in West Virginia. Other West Virginia bases are located in Parkersburg and Logan. The new base will provide employment for 12 to 15 individuals and serve communities within a 70-mile radius of Wetzel County.

“We are very excited to be in Wetzel County and feel there is a need for our services in this area,” said Air Evac Lifeteam’s Bradley Troy, Program Director for the Wetzel County base. “There are some great hospitals and EMS providers in this region, and we look forward to partnering with them and being an extension of that excellent health care service. Our goal is simple: To make sure area residents have access to the definitive care they need in the event of a medical emergency.”

Wetzel County Hospital CEO George Couch said the presence of Air Evac Lifeteam will be another asset to the community. “Emergency care in Wetzel, Tyler and Monroe Counties will be greatly enhanced with the addition of a full-time emergency helicopter service,” said Couch. “This is a great day for Wetzel County Hospital, our employees and the citizens of the area.”

Couch continued, adding that “we have taken great strides as a small rural hospital in providing high-quality emergency, inpatient and outpatient services. The addition of an emergency helicopter service is just one more way to provide timely, quality service for our patients.”

Sistersville General Hospital CEO Brian Lowther echoed those sentiments.

“We are pleased that Air Evac Lifeteam has chosen to set up a base so close to Sistersville General Hospital,” said Lowther. “Our experience in the past has been ideal with Air Evac Lifeteam, and we look forward to the future support and care they will provide our patients. Air Evac’s service to the community will provide a sense of security, knowing that quality air transport is available within ten minutes.”

An Air Evac Lifeteam crew, which includes a registered nurse, paramedic and pilot, is on call at each base 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and provide on-the-scene medical care and rapid transport to medical facilities. Crew members are trained in advanced pre-hospital care in order for medical care to begin at the scene and continue en route to the hospital. This same training also allows for critical care hospital-to-hospital transfers. The Wetzel County helicopter is also equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment, including the use of NVGs (Night Vision Goggles). NVGs are particularly useful on nights with little illumination in identifying emergency scene landing zones in difficult terrain, such as mountains and hills, by raising night-time vision to 20/20.

Air Evac Lifeteam, headquartered in West Plains, Mo., is the largest independently-owned air ambulance service in the country. Since its founding in 1985, Air Evac has transported more than 200,000 patients in need, serving as the critical link to improved response time and immediate access to medical care facilities across 14 states.

“We are very pleased to be located in New Martinsville,” said Air Evac Lifeteam President Seth Myers. “This is a great addition to the already quality health services available in this area. We would like to thank Wetzel County Hospital, Sistersville General Hospital, county and city officials, and the residents of Wetzel County and the surrounding counties, for their support in the opening of this base. We look forward to working with them in serving their patients.”

Myers said the company is excited about expanding its service area into Wetzel County.

“Our mission is to save lives and positively impact outcomes during life-or-limb-threatening medical emergencies, and we can do this by providing rapid access to definitive emergency health care,” said Myers. “Our goal is to provide quality health care to area residents, and we have unwavering dedication to our mission.

“The opening of this base is part of an ever-expanding commitment by Air Evac Lifeteam and the health care community in this region to improve access to trauma care for residents of northern West Virginia,” he added.

Air Evac Lifeteam was one of the first air ambulance services in the country to offer a membership program. Members pay an annual fee and, if they are flown by Air Evac Lifeteam for life- or limb-threatening medical emergencies, they do not have to pay for the flight. Memberships are valid throughout Air Evac Lifeteam service areas, so members are covered while traveling through Air Evac Lifeteam service areas. Annual memberships are $50 for an individual, $55 for a couple and $60 for a household or three or more.

For information about Air Evac Lifeteam services call 1-800-793-0010.