by Susan Weikel–
Zac Hogan has been with Care flight for four years and flying for over seven. “I live in Minden,” he said, “but I’ve embraced the community here. I really like Fallon; it reminds me of home.”
Fallon Care Flight first began its partnership with Banner Churchill Community Hospital in 2015 and received a great deal of support from the Mayor and the City of Fallon. “We are here to be a part of the rural communities,” said Hogan. “The unit has felt very embraced by the community and that has made the desire to be here even greater,” he said.
Care Flight is part of REMSA, which is a non-profit organization that was started in Reno in 1981. The model expanded outside of the mero area into the much-needed rural areas in 20105, and now partners with different hospitals to offer services that cover approximately 50,000 square miles of California and Nevada. With their fleet of four helicopters (Fallon, Gardnerville, Truckee, California, and Beckworth, California) and one airplane in Reno, crews are able to reach most areas of the region in under one hour and navigate the complex terrain.
Each base community has a coverage area of approximately 150 miles and can transport patients to facilities in Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, and Palo Alto. As a designated Helicopter First Responder, Care Flight can land anywhere that it is legal and is not required to have ground unity support in order to respond to a scene, allowing for immediate patient care.
According to the Care Flight information on their website, the helicopter is an AStar 350 B3 model, specifically designed for high altitude flying. In addition, all four helicopters are equipped with night vision goggles, Terrain avoidance warning systems, GPS, and XM satellite weather for constantly updated weather information.
The Care Flight crew consists of a pilot, a flight nurse, and a flight paramedic. They work 24-hour shifts, except for the pilots who are limited to 12 by the FAA. Fallon/
Churchill County averages two to three calls a day, with services ranging from interfacility transfers, hospital to hospital, transports from clinics, and on-scene flights. Care Flight might even end up landing in the mountains with the crew going for a hike to collect someone. That could mean the pilot helps out carrying packs. The team is ready for any situation. If there is a need for another helicopter while one is out, it takes about 20 minutes to have one of the other areas respond to Fallon.
Care Flight also offers a Flight Plan Membership to help protect finances in the event that there would be a need for air transport. The membership covers everyone in a household, works with patient insurance, and costs only $55 per year. For more information on the Care Flight membership, visit their website at remsahealth.com/membership.
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