Black Hills Life Flight Cuts the Ribbon on New Air Medical Base in Hot Springs 


South Dakota Secretary of Health shares insights on how residents benefit from emergency air medical services 

Hot Springs, SD, June 30, 2023— Black Hills Life Flight was honored to celebrate the opening of its new base at the Hot Springs Ambulance Service station on Thursday with South Dakota Secretary of Health Melissa Magstadt, crew members, Air Methods leaders, and nearly 50 guests.  

“What you’ve got here is not just a ‘load to go’ shell (meaning simply transportation for the patient). What you have here is an entire ICU,” said Mangstadt. “Not only do you have something that gets you from point A to point B very quickly, saving lives, but it is also fully equipped with all of the modern technology and capabilities that modern medicine has to take the ICU and emergency care right to the patient, whether it is on a mountain top or down in the valleys.”    

The Hot Springs base, which went into service on June 7, joins the Black Hills Life Flight program already established in Rapid City and is part of Air Methods, the leading air medical provider in the United States. It provides emergency air medical services to Fall River County and the Black Hills area. Additionally, the opening offers quicker response times for emergent and trauma situations and provides interfacility transports for patients needing specialized care. 

The new airbase brings a Bell 407 helicopter, staffed with industry-leading flight nurses and paramedics, pilots with years of experience in the field, as well as skilled aviation mechanics who ensure the aircraft is always safe and mission ready.  

“We are committed to serving the people of this region with the best trained crews and safest aircraft in the industry and are honored that Secretary Magstadt came today to support us in this mission,” said Darryl Crown, account executive with Air Methods. “We appreciate her commitment to Black Hills Life Flight and to the health of our citizens. Residents of Fall River County and the surrounding area can trust Black Hills Life Flight to provide exceptional emergency care while transporting them safely.” 

A unique partnership exists between Black Hills Life Flight and Hot Springs Ambulance Service. While air medical providers and ambulance services typically work closely together, they don’t often work out of the same facility. 

“Our service has worked a long time to have this vital resource return to Hot Springs,” said Jacki Conlon, director of operations for Hot Springs Ambulance Service. “When time is of the essence, critical patients will have a much greater survival rate by having Black Hills Life Flight available, especially in very rural areas where the transport time to a definitive treatment center is much longer.” 

One very special guest at the event was Heather Brehmer, a former Black Hills Life Flight clinician whose daughter was transported by the service following a serious car accident. The teen was thrown from the vehicle and suffered a break to her C1 vertebrae – an injury that is fatal 95% of the time. Thanks in part to the rapid transport and in-flight care from Black Hills Life Flight, the girl made a miraculous recovery. 

“Living in rural communities has its drawbacks, especially when the nearest trauma hospital is hundreds of miles away,” said Brehmer. “My daughter was involved in a serious end-to-end rollover vehicle accident in a remote location resulting in severe head trauma. Thank God we had the ability to access Black Hills Life Flight’s air ambulance service! My daughter is alive and thriving today because of the quick response of the Life Flight crew. Without Life Flight, this would have been a very different outcome for our young daughter and for many others in our communities. Life Flight is truly a life saver!”