by Danny Wade
Vanderbilt LifeFlight is officially open for business in Humboldt. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held last Tuesday marking the day.
The air ambulance service is on site at Humboldt Municipal Airport that includes a hanger for the helicopter including a service area, and living quarters for the flight crew and mechanics.
“This is a big day in Humboldt, Tennessee,” Humboldt Mayor Marvin Sikes said during the ceremony. “When you hear ‘Vanderbilt’, you know it’s high quality.”
LifeFlight provides the trained professionals that provide emergency care. Air Methods Inc. provides the helicopters and facilities. The two partner together along with the city providing space at the airport.
Several Vanderbilt staff were on hand for the celebration, including Matt Flier, West Tennessee regional business development manager.
Flier said Air Methods investment is $10 million, which includes the aircraft and base.
People may think the medical helicopter would only fly to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, but that’s not the case. Daniel Horne, chief flight nurse for the Humboldt base, said they will fly to Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, Regional Trauma Center in Memphis and to Nashville, determined case-by-case.
The helicopter in Humboldt is a twin-engine Airbus H-135 with the capability of flying 150 mph, which is faster than most medical helicopters. Inside the Airbus, there is room for 360-degree access for nurses to care for patients. There is also enough room for a family member to travel with the patient.
After the program and ribbon cutting ceremony, everyone attending enjoyed lunch inside the hangar base.