Ala. city restores air ambulance service

Arkansas-based Survival Flight will take over air ambulance services in September after the current service, Air Methods, quit abruptly


By Donna Thornton
The Gadsden Times, Ala.

RAINBOW CITY, Ala. — The Rainbow City Council at its Monday meeting approved a lease with an air ambulance service to restore local helicopter service for medical emergencies to the Etowah County area.

Under the new lease, Arkansas-based Survival Flight will locate at the city-owned property on Steele Station Road, leased for $600 a month, with a 5% increase upon renewal.

Since Air Methods left Rainbow City, the nearest air ambulance is located in Talladega County, increasing response times during an emergency. (Photo/Survival Flight)
Since Air Methods left Rainbow City, the nearest air ambulance is located in Talladega County, increasing response times during an emergency. (Photo/Survival Flight)

Councilmember Rick Hill, who took the lead in recruiting a new service after Air Methods' abrupt departure earlier this year, said he hopes that Survival Flight can be on-site by Sept. 1.

One of the stumbling blocks for the new air ambulance to start services is the removal of a trailer that housed the Air Methods' office at the site.

When council members questioned when the trailer was slated to be removed, Hill said it was supposed to have been removed Monday, but as far as anyone knew, that had not happened by meeting time.

The council also approved placement of a double-wide trailer that will be used as office space for the new air ambulance tenant. It is considered city property, paid for out of fire tax money so that the city won't be left waiting for a trailer to be removed to make room for a new tenant.

Assistant Fire Chief Richard Johnson said the new air ambulance service cannot come fast enough. Since Air Methods left Rainbow City, the nearest air ambulance is located in Talladega County, and it sometimes can't travel fast enough to help emergency patients.

He said there recently was a bad wreck in Glencoe, and medics were given a 32-minute estimate for a helicopter's arrival. They opted to cancel the chopper and transport the patient by ground ambulance.

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©2019 The Gadsden Times, Ala.

 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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