Life Flight Air Ambulance Service is making Newport a new regional headquarters for their operations to enhance air ambulance service between the coast, the valley and Portland. Life Flight will be based at the Newport Airport and will be able to dramatically shorten air lift flight times between accident scenes and trauma units in the valley and Portland.
Life Flight officials say they will be hiring two pilots, four nurses, four paramedics, two medics, and two mechanics. They’ll all be working out of their new facilities at the Newport Airport bringing with them a million dollar a year payroll to the community.
They expect to begin service June 1st.
Life Flight will be using a European Airbus twin engine H-135 with rear-load capabilities which makes passenger load and lift-off a lot quicker. The H-135 has a faster air speed than typical air ambulances so from Newport to the trauma unit in Corvallis flight time is just 12 minutes. Flight time from Lincoln City to Portland is just 39 minutes, a dramatic reduction in travel time.
Life Flight officials also say they are investigating whether it’s feasible to add a fixed wing PC-12 Pilatus to their Newport base. The PC-12 can fly in worse weather than helicopters can and carry more life support equipment and personnel.
Newport Fire Chief Rob Murphy said Life Flight’s new base is a much needed addition to the coast’s overall emergency response system. He said, in addition to shortening the time between an injury and going into surgery in Corvallis, there are more opportunities to work more closely with an air ambulance operation for improving training and co-ordination.
RC Mock, Fire Chief for Siletz Valley Fire District states: “I am very excited and grateful that our communities will have better access to advanced care and more resources available, which will increase our overall healthcare system. This will be advantageous for our county, and I personally think it has been a missing piece to our local system for some time.”
Life Flight has air ambulance bases in Astoria, Aurora, Redmond, Cottage Grove, Pendleton, La Grande and Ontario. They also cover most of eastern Washington, as well.