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'LifeNet' medical helicopter will be based in Cherokee

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

CRMC lands new air ambulance service

The Cherokee Regional Medical Center and LifeNet of Iowa, a critical care air medical transport company, announced today that a fully equipped, state-of-the-art medical helicopter will be based in Cherokee.

According to CRMC CEO John Comstock, the aircraft will be tethered on the heli-pad at the CRMC, or in a leased hangar at the Cherokee Airport in the wintertime, or in the event of bad weather.

In a news release announcing the addition of Cherokee as a Midwest regional aircraft location, a LifeNet spokesperson said, "Our technologically advanced EC130 aircraft, matched with our expertly-trained critical care nurses and paramedics and highly-skilled pilots and mechanics, will be strategically based in Cherokee.

"From this location, our aircraft and crew are less than 30 minutes flight time from most hospital and EMS services in northwest Iowa and the surrounding counties. Our constant state of readiness 24-7-365 is our commitment to you and your community."

Under its parent company - Air Methods - LifeNet brings a wealth of experience and added quality and value to the CRMC and public safety organizations that many other air medical operators are not capable of duplicating. The program offers experienced clinical staff; the most modern, technologically equipped helicopters; and the most robust safety management system in the industry.

A further statement by Air methods officials reads,"We recognize our customers have worthy options for air medical vendors and are aware each chooses Air Methods. We proudly accept the responsibility of being that Partner of Choice and will justify the decision daily. LifeNet of Iowa is proud to have entered into a relationship with Cherokee Regional Medical Center, which has an exceptional staff and modern facilities, but most of all, they provide exceptional care to patients and their families.

"The EC130 is rapidly becoming more and more widespread within the U.S. air medical industry. Features such as a low noise level, excellent performance and extremely roomy and comfortable cabin for a light single-engine helicopter are aspects that boost its popularity. Our EC130s can accommodate a single patient or specialty transport, and the large temperature controlled cabin of the EC130 provides full access to the patient during flight. It even has our one-of-a-kind EZ Lift 1300 patient stretcher system and loading system.

"As the industry leader in operational safety, our EC130 glass cockpit is designed specifically for HEMS operations and is the first to feature Garmin's G500H technologically advanced unit."

LifeNet also has similar operations based in Omaha and Norfolk Neb., and St. Joseph, Mo.

The CRMC and other hospitals throughout northwest Iowa have long utilized the services of Mercy Air Care out of Sioux City, or other medical helicopters from Sioux Falls, S.D. and Omaha, Neb., and that will continue in the event the Cherokee-based medical helicopter is on another call, with the needs of the patient as assessed by the EMS on the ground to determine the quickest aircraft responder.

"We are elated with LifeNet coming to Cherokee," said Comstock. "It's an opportunity to bring an air ambulance service to the rural area to increase response time for the benefit of the patient. We are happy and proud to now offer this service at CRMC."

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