CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) - CareFlight is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this Sunday with a special ceremony at Miami Valley Hospital South in Centerville.
The celebration takes place between 1 and 5 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Three of the helicopters will be on display as well as the fleet of MICU's. The event also includes entertainment and refreshments.
Miami Valley Hospital introduced the first air ambulance to the region in 1983. At the time it was one of only six such programs in the United States and the second in Ohio.
When CareFlight lifted off the ground on its first flight, the program included one medical equipped helicopter and a staff of 19. In the past three decades the program has grown considerably. Today 140 pilots, specially trained nurses, EMS personnel, communication specialists, aircraft mechanics and administrative staff members make up the CareFlight team. The number of aircraft has also grown. Now, the program has a fleet of four helicopters assigned to three bases including the roof top of MVH, the Warren County Airport, and Grimes Field in Champaign County. The fourth aircraft serves as a back-up when one the other three are down for routine maintenance.
In 1997 CareFlight grew to include offering ground transportation. Specially equipped mobile intensive care units or MICU's were put into service. The units transport patients between hospitals or are used in cases when the helicopters are grounded due to poor weather conditions. Currently four MICU's are a part of the CareFlight program.
This past spring Miami Valley expanded its CareFlight service to transport very premature babies. The new service called NeoFlight, allows CareFlight to transported critically ill premature babies from 10 other area community hospitals to the hospital's highly-specialized Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in a matter of minutes. NeoFlight has have a specialized incubator for transport, called an isolette, which will allows staff to regulate the environment for the infant as well as reduce sound and vibration from the helicopter.
CareFlight currently has four helicopters that service 50 different counties in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. CareFlight took 3,000 flights last year.
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