ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Sept. 14, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Stacey Hickey, an Air Methods flight nurse, had just returned home to Missouri—after evacuating intensive care unit (ICU) patients and hospital personnel from facilities affected by Hurricane Harvey—when she received an important email from her employer.
Air Methods—the global leader in emergency air medical services—wanted to know whether she was willing to redeploy to Florida if Hurricane Irma makes landfall there. Her answer: “Of course.”
Hickey, based in Sullivan, Missouri, was one of nearly 200 flight nurses, paramedics, pilots and aviation maintenance technicians that Air Methods assigned to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. The company staged and prepped crew members from all over the country, along with 20 air medical helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, in advance of Hurricane Harvey, and Air Methods was prepared to do the same for Hurricane Irma. Sundance Helicopters is part of the tourism division at Air Methods and dedicated three helicopters and 10 pilots and mechanics to support the company’s relief efforts.
Hickey says she is following a family tradition of stepping forward to respond to emergencies. “My husband is a fireman,” Hickey says. “My father-in-law is a police officer. We’re public servants through and through. I look at it like, my family’s safe; we’re dry. Whatever the hurricane victims need, it’s the least we can do.”
Air Methods activated its emergency response plan on Aug. 24 to support relief efforts in Texas and Louisiana, which included onsite evacuation and air medical transport support of hospital personnel and critically-ill patients. The company joined an outpouring of worldwide support for all those affected by the devastating storm.
Even as Air Methods teammates prepared for a possible second round of evacuations with Hurricane Irma, the company pledged $100,000 to relief efforts. The company launched the Air Methods Foundation in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Air Methods will contribute to the foundation and will match every dollar donated by its more than 5,000 employees, up to $100 per individual. Every dollar donated over the coming weeks, including the company’s matching funds, will help disaster relief efforts.
“Our hearts and efforts go out to the victims of Hurricane Harvey,” said Chief Executive Officer Aaron Todd. “We have worked hard to mobilize our resources in every way we can to transport patients to safe locations pre- and post-Harvey and Irma, and with many of our teammates asking for more ways to help, the Air Methods Foundation allows our team to support the ongoing relief efforts. Together we can make difference.”
As a carrier of lifesaving blood in-flight, Air Methods and the foundation are also encouraging people nationwide to contribute by donating blood. Blood loss is the No. 1 cause of death in trauma victims, and blood transfusions are a vital part of emergency medicine during disasters such as Hurricane Harvey. Blood donations can be made to the American Red Cross or local organizations such as OneBlood, LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, Carter BloodCare and the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center.
“One hospital had no water for days,” said Joe Rios, a flight nurse from Chatham, Illinois, who deployed to Texas for Hurricane Harvey. “One young patient had collapsed at work and was on a ventilator in the intensive care unit. During evacuation, she needed the same level of care.”
“We were able to assist, evacuating some of the critical patients that were on ventilators and medication drips,” Rios added. “They needed similar care to what they received in the ICU. We were able to provide that for them and get them up to the Fort Worth-Dallas area.”
Air Methods teammates prepared to do the same thing in Florida.
About Air Methods
Air Methods Corporation (www.airmethods.com) is the global leader in air medical transportation. The Air Medical Services Division is the largest provider of air medical transport services in the United States. The United Rotorcraft Division specializes in the design and manufacture of aeromedical and aerospace technology. The Tourism Division is comprised of Sundance Helicopters, Inc. and Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, which provide helicopter tours and charter flights in the Las Vegas/Grand Canyon region and Hawaii, respectively. Air Methods’ fleet of owned, leased or maintained aircraft features approximately 500 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
About The Air Methods Foundation
The Air Methods Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private foundation dedicated to building healthier communities for generations to come. Guided by its mission of giving more tomorrows, the Air Methods Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Air Methods Corporation, an air medical company focused on quality of care to patients and safety in aviation.
Christina Ward, Director of Corporate Communications