Life Flight hits 40 years
AURORA — In 1978, Life Flight Network was born under the name Emanuel Life Flight as a part of the Emanuel Hospital.
At the time, it was only the fourth helicopter hospital-based air ambulance in the nation, and the only one on the west coast.
Forty years under its own banner, and with a new name, Life Flight Network now has 23 different locations across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.
According to Life Flight regional director Jacob Dalstra, the various bases transport one emergency a day on average.
Life Flight offers memberships that cover out of pocket transportation costs in case of a trauma or injury. For Oregon residents, that membership can include air and ground transportation and will cover the membership holder, their spouse or domestic partner, and any claimed dependents.
Keeping in mind the company's 40th anniversary, there is a temporary drop in the annual fee for new members.
From now until Labor Day, new members will only be charged $40 and not the standard $65 annual fee. It is important to note that after Labor Day, the fee will return to $65. It's a big time for Life Flight, and the growth of the company over the years is notable.
"The aircraft have changed," Dalstra said. "We have an updated fleet of helicopters and airplanes that have safety features that just weren't available 40 years ago."
Another part of the change is the development of a smart phone app that hospitals and first responders use. Rolled out in late May, the app is used to help the first responders cut down response times to the scene of accidents or traumas.
"First responders have been really happy with the results of it because it is able to get the aircraft up in the air faster and to them when they have a medical patient or a child patient that they need to get into care," Dalstra said.
The Life Flight Network base at Aurora Airport has a service radius of 175 miles, but longer flights can be made, according to the Life Flight website.
For membership information, visit lifeflight.org/membership.