Sanford Helicopter Takes Off From Bismarck - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Sanford Helicopter Takes Off From Bismarck

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A new helicopter will be flying the skies of western North Dakota.

Sanford Health is launching a new Air Ambulance service.

It's called Sanford Air Med, a service not new to Sanford Hospitals, but it is new to Bismarck.

Jon Berg takes you for a ride.

<<Pilots, nurses and Paramedics are finished up with training, and ready to take off in the Bismarck Sanford Helicopter.

"The crews are ready, the communication center is ready, the aircraft is ready and on Monday morning at 7 a.m. we turn the switch on and we're ready to start accepting transfers," Michael Christianson said.

It's all part of MedCenter One's Merger with Sanford Health, to provide additional air service to western North Dakota.

"We're in this merger about eight months and as Sanford Bismarck this is just one of the services in eight months we've lifted up and will be providing," CEO Craig Lambrecht said.

The Lead Pilot for the Sanford Helicopter isn't new to the air.

"I've been flying since 1979," Lead Pilot, Craig Heuer said.

Craig Heuer was a pilot for Trinity Hospital in Minot prior to coming to Sanford, and he knows speed is key when treating patients with life threatening conditions.

"They talk about the golden hour probably have heard that with strokes and heart attacks, getting them to the facility so they can get that additional care that they need," Heuer said.

Compared to an ambulance, this helicopter can travel up to 165 miles per hour, and doesn't have to drive through traffic.

"It's a very fast obviously we don't have to go on roads or anything so like accident scenes for example, we can get to that accident, get that patient out of that critical situation into a place where they can get the additional care that they need," Heuer said.

And with the growing population in western North Dakota, that additional care is needed.

"Responsive to just about every ambulance, every hospital in western North Dakota, so the accessibility for this helicopter is to all of central and western North Dakota," Lambrecht said.>>

The crew will include a pilot, flight paramedic and a registered nurse.

The helicopter will be in full service starting Monday morning.

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