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Air Methods’ Big Bear Base Celebrates One Year in Service

Mar 13, 2019

Demand for air medical scene responses and interfacility transports exceeds expectations, but not the base’s capacity, as it transports approximately one patient per day

BIG BEAR CITY, Calif. March 13, 2019 – Mercy Air, a division of Air Methods, announced that its base at the Big Bear City Airport served 334 patients, including 23 children, on 347 transports during the first full year of permanent operation – the equivalent of caring for nearly one patient per day.

In a public partnership with the Big Bear Fire Department and the Bear Valley Healthcare District, Mercy Air serves the mountain communities of San Bernardino County and the surrounding areas. In its first year, Mercy’s state-of-the-art helicopter, a Bell 407GXP equipped with night vision goggles, autopilot, terrain avoidance andweather overlay, responded to 97 rescue scenes and performed 249 transportsfrom a hospital to a specialized medical facility. The average response time was less than 12 minutes to a scene and less than 16 minutes for transports between medical facilities. In total, Mercy Air Big Bear crews spent 311 hours in the air in just one year. 

“We are extremely proud of our Big Bear crew’s performance in our first year,” said Air Methods Area Manager Jason Johnston. “The demand for air medical services in this area has exceeded our expectations, but our team rose to the challenge and safely and effectively delivered care and transport to hundreds of residents of the San Bernardino mountain communities. We have set a high mark that we hope to improve on in our second year.”

Trauma calls were the most frequent reason for air medical services, accounting for 100 transportsin the first year. Other reasons for calls were for neurological conditions (73), general medical (68), cardiac (49), pulmonary (23) and transport for specialized surgery (12). 

Air medical services provide essential and lifesaving services throughout the country. During missions, highly trained medical teams care for patients with lifesaving interventions, from providing trauma care after an accident to administering clot-busting medications that must be given shortly after a major stroke to significantly improve outcomes. With the continued consolidation of hospitals and the trend towards centers with specialized heart or neurological care, the clinical support and speed of missions are critical to giving patients the best possible outcomes.

The Big Bear base’s one-year anniversary follows just days after the opening of Mercy Air 66, a new base that will provide air medical services to the nearby Barstow community. The new base is at the former site of the Barstow Community Hospital and is resulting in quicker response times for emergent and trauma situations.


About Mercy Air
Mercy Air started more than 30 years ago in Adelanto, CA, and has served the High Desert proudly. Mercy Air became a member of Air Methods in 1997. The unity of Mercy and Air Methods continued its mission to provide compassion, and the unrelenting pursuit of skilled and passionate service to those who have unexpectedly found themselves threatened by life’s unforeseen situations. We devote ourselves – safely and prudently – to ensuring patients receive our full expertise, resources, and focus to preserve and enhance their lives until they are delivered to definitive care.

About Air Methods
Air Methods (www.airmethods.com) is the leading air medical service, delivering lifesaving care to more than 70,000 people every year. With nearly 40 years of air medical experience, Air Methods is the preferred partner for hospitals and one of the largest community-based providers of air medical services. United Rotorcraft is the Company’s products division specializing in the design and manufacture of aeromedical and aerospace technology. Air Methods’ fleet of owned, leased or maintained aircraft features more than 450 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. 

Media Contacts:
Jason Johnston
Area Manager, Air Methods
(909) 851-5292
Jason.Johnston@airmethods.com   

Megan Smith
Amendola Communications
(404) 408-3379
mhsmith@acmarketingpr.com

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