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Air Evac Lifeteam, the nation’s leading helicopter air ambulance provider, has deployed 14 aircraft and crews to respond to requests from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide critical care transport for patients currently located in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Crew and aircraft from six states are either already in San Antonio or are en route to San Antonio from the following Air Evac Lifeteam bases: Demopolis, Alabama, Blytheville, Arkansas, Vilonia, Arkansas, Harrisburg, Illinois, Cushing, Oklahoma, Henryetta, Oklahoma, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, and the following bases in Texas: Cuero (Methodist AirCare 6), Greenville, Kerrville, LaGrange, Paris, Seguin (Methodist AirCare 4) and Wichita Falls.
Joe Grygiel, senior director of base operations for Air Evac Lifeteam, said all aircraft and crews are on their way to the Air Evac Lifeteam fixed-wing base at the San Antonio airport.
“All requests for patient transports will come from FEMA,” Grygiel said. “We expect our crews to be actively deployed for five to seven days.”
Air Evac Lifeteam is also sending a dedicated safety manager to San Antonio. While this is a natural disaster, Grygiel said all Air Evac crews will perform the same safety checks they do before each flight.
“We cannot help others if we first do not ensure the safety of our crews,” he said. “There are many obstacles to consider in a situation like this. There are power outages, and some weather reporting stations are down. In addition, people are flying drones trying to survey the damage. The safety of our crews and aircraft is paramount.”
Air Evac Lifeteam has 135 air medical bases in 15 states. Grygiel reassured residents in the company’s services areas impacted by the deployment.
“Our bases are located contiguously for just this reason,” he said. “We have aircraft and crews ready to provide backup, respond and provide ACCESS to a higher level of health care.”