By Reed Groth, Safety Officer, Sanford AirMed
School has started and signs of fall are here. Another great North Dakota summer is in the books. However, with the changing of seasons, winter weather will arrive and begin to play a major role in our daily lives. With that knowledge in mind, the air medical community is asking for your assistance.
When thinking of air medical transport, most people picture helicopters landing on a road and taking the patient from a car accident straight to the hospital. Sanford AirMed is more than that. With two fixed-wing King Air 200s stationed in Dickinson and Fargo, they are ready to go at a moment’s notice. Flying 24/7, 365-days-a-year, these fixed wing aircraft annually log more than 400,000 miles. Serving North Dakotans for more than four decades, over 70,000 patients have been safely transported to higher level of care facilities, providing them with necessary lifesaving interventions.
Sanford AirMed, along with other air medical services, are calling on local airports across North Dakota for their support and assistance. Picture this: someone you know and love is having a heart attack. You are located in rural North Dakota, miles away from a hospital that has the critical interventions required to help. It is the middle of winter and a blizzard has gone through, leaving roads nearly impassable. The forecast is calling for icing, leaving the helicopter unable to respond. Your next point of care is a fixed wing transport. The good news is these weather conditions allow Sanford AirMed’s King Air 200 to accept the mission. The only requirement is an accessible, clear, and uncontaminated hard surface.
Flight conditions for the fixed wing aircraft look good. Sanford AirMed is cleared to fly and the crew is ready. Unfortunately, our pilots are unable to reach personnel at the destination airport to check runway conditions; therefore, we may need to land at an airport further away, thus delaying our team’s arrival to the patient. Every minute equals precious heart muscle lost.