AirLIFE Brings Emergency Medical Helicopter to Utopia for Eclipse


Program provides extra support for increased crowds during celestial event  

Uvalde, TX, April 3, 2024 – As cities across Texas prepare for the coming eclipse, one factor being considered is how to provide emergency medical care for both citizens and the thousands of visitors coming to the state. The small town of Utopia is expected to be one of the darkest spots in the path of the total eclipse and is planning for an estimated 10,000 visitors to attend one of several eclipse festivals in the area. In order to ensure residents and visitors have appropriate access to critical care in the event of an emergency, AirLIFE in Uvalde has partnered with Utopia Volunteer EMS to base their helicopter at Utopia Medical Clinic for the day. 

“We have a long-time working relationship with Utopia Volunteer EMS and are proud to offer our support to this community and its visitors,” said Joel Ramirez, flight paramedic with AirLIFE. “By partnering like this, we are taking proactive measures to address potential emergencies that can arise from large crowds like this.” 

With an estimated population of just 211 people and higher levels of care nearly two hours away, an influx of 10,000 visitors is likely to strain Utopia’s resources and create significant traffic congestion that ground ambulances may have difficulty penetrating. Heavy traffic is expected on all Texas roadways in the path of the eclipse, so air transport may be the only way to get patients to area hospitals. 

“We are so thankful to have AirLIFE help support us during this once in a lifetime event,” said Rhonda Garofano, director of Utopia Volunteer EMS. “We consider them part of our team and knowing we will have the critical care capabilities if the need arises means we can ensure the best care for everyone coming to the area. We have no idea how all of the events in the area will go, but we know we will have the right people available.” 

AirLIFE is part of Air Methods, the leading air medical service provider in the United States. Their highly trained flight nurses and paramedics are equipped to transport cardiac, stroke, pediatric, high-risk obstetric, and other patients with a wide variety of critical care needs. They carry blood that can be administered in-flight for patients suffering significant blood loss and at risk for hemorrhagic shock, which causes the body’s organs to fail and can lead to death.  

Air Methods is committed to providing air medical services to all members of the communities it serves and their visitors, and is in-network with most major health insurance providers across the country for emergency air medical services. Additionally, their patient advocacy program works with all patients, regardless of insurance or the state they may be visiting from, to ensure affordability while making pre-paid air medical membership unnecessary.