Emergency Helicopter Service Comes to Escanaba

6/10/2014 - Escanaba, Michigan

An exciting new member of the local health care and EMS network arrived in Escanaba this week.  It is a specially designated emergency helicopter and it will begin providing air medical transportation to the area on Monday, June 9th.

"The helicopter and services are offered by Valley Med Flight and will provide Delta County with an added resource for emergency response and quick patient transportation," said Dave Lord, president and CEO for OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group.  The aircraft will be capable of assisting local first-responders, EMS, fire, and law-enforcement by responding to motor vehicle accidents and any other scene response needs as well as helipad-to-helipad patient transportation.

Valley Med Flight is not new to the Upper Peninsula, as the company has provided fixed-wing air ambulance services from Iron Mountain for many years.  In September, Air Medical Resource Group (AMRG) purchased Valley Med Flight and has afforded the company additional resources to expand its reach and service offering in the area.  Based in Utah, AMRG is the fourth largest air medical provider in the nation and currently transports more than 11,000 patients per year.

“We are very excited to be a part of this community,” stated Shanon Pollock, AMRG’s vice president of business development.  “Valley Med Flight has established a great reputation for patient care and reliability in this region.  It is our goal to expand that care and speed up patient transports with this helicopter.”

The helicopter will be permanently based in Escanaba, along with pilots and paramedics who will be on call 24/7, said Pollock.

“Expansion of air medical transportation is a tremendous benefit for our community,” said Dave Lord, president and CEO of OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group. “Having ready access to helicopter services will improve odds in the race against time for critically ill patients and those with traumatic injuries.”

“The decision to call for air medical transport is based on a number of factors, including the patient's condition, weather conditions and accessibility to the scene or hospital facilities, said Edward Bigsby, M.D., emergency department physician and medical director for the Delta County Medical Control Authority (DCMCA). “Patients that the attending physician feels would benefit from rapid transport may be sent by helicopter. This may critically ill or injured patients, as well as those with unstable or deteriorating vital signs, in severe respiratory distress or respiratory failure, post cardiac arrest, significant trauma or medical conditions such as heart attack and acute stroke.”

Bigsby added that transports over 150 miles and less than 300 miles would be considered for rotary wing transport. Transports greater than 300 miles or during inclement weather would continue to be done by fixed wing aircraft.

AMRG is a leading provider of air medical services, management, and experience throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. AMRG’s mission is to provide safe, compassionate and efficient air medical transportation in the communities it serves.



Kacie Hanchek
Community Relations Specialist
(906) 786-5707 x5516