Llano County is set to get air ambulance support starting in March after CareFlite establishes a helicopter medical base in Buchanan Dam.
The CareFlite base will be at the Buchanan Community Center, 2395 RR 261, and is scheduled to open March 1.
Previously, Llano County emergency services had to request air assistance from outside of the county.
CareFlite CEO James Swartz said Llano County is underserved when it comes to air ambulance services. He pointed out it’s a great opportunity for his company “and it’s exactly the kind of community we’re designed to support.”
The aircraft assigned to the base will be a Bell 407GX EMS helicopter, a state-of-the-art vehicle designed for quick responses to emergencies, including patient transfers from local hospitals to the closest trauma centers. The helicopter and crew can also provide support for fire and law enforcement agencies in the county when not on patient missions.
CareFlite is the only aircraft operator in the region that has helicopters equipped with chest compression devices and blood products that increase patient survival rates.
“Nobody is strong enough, not even Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime, could do chest compressions for a long period of time,” Swartz said. “Not only can we do chest compressions manually, but we have these chest compression machines on every aircraft.”
Pilots hold Airline Transport Pilot certification, CareFlite nurses have Certified Flight Registered Nurse certification, and CareFlite paramedics hold Flight Paramedic Certifications.
These certifications exceed FAA and state of Texas requirements for nurses and paramedics serving on aircraft.
CareFlite also offers a membership program, Caring-Heart, for $49 per household per year. The membership helps cover any CareFlite transportation costs after insurance pays its share. Those without insurance but with a CareFlight membership receive a 50 percent discount from standard rates. Visit the company’s website or call 877-339-2273 for more information.