The A.L.E.R.T air ambulance program of Kalispell Regional Medical Center has upgraded to a new medical flight helicopter with the help of a loan. This new helicopter has replaced their 17-year-old helicopter, which managed to log 6,500 hours during its service. Now the program is looking to raise funds so it can pay back the loan.
New Helicopter Offers Increased Safety and Speed
The new helicopter acquired by the program is a Bell 407, which is fully equipped with high-end systems to improve the quality of service with better safety and speed. It has an autopilot and an avionics system. The improved speed of the helicopter will help the program in transporting patients quickly to hospitals to receive emergency medical care.
The A.L.E.R.T program had to spend $4 million on the new medical flight helicopter. And since they required it immediately, they had to take out a loan to purchase it before they could raise the money.
Thousands of Lives Saved Through the Medical Flight Program
Since it began in 1975, the A.L.E.R.T program has managed to save 1,500 lives by being in the air about 500 times each year. But instead of selling the old helicopter, the program has decided to use it as a backup. This is necessary since the contracted helicopters they once used as backup are no longer qualified for carrying out emergency medical services per the latest FAA requirements.
Now that the program won’t have to spend on contracted helicopters, having the old helicopter as backup will help in cutting down costs. Having an additional aircraft also gives the program the ability to provide additional training to their crew without the need to be non-operational. In the long run, this could help in improving the overall quality of service.