Our subsidiary, Air Idaho Rescue, has reopened its West Yellowstone seasonal air medical base serving the greater Yellowstone region. In conjunction with Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC), the Air Idaho Rescue base extends care to Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, the Gallatin National Forest, and the Madison River valley. The base officially commenced operations this month, with service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The West Yellowstone base is staffed by Air Idaho Rescue personnel, including experienced flight nurses, flight paramedics, emergency medical services pilots, and mechanics. During the spring, summer, and fall, air medical services are vital for transporting patients from remote areas in and around Yellowstone National Park.

The West Yellowstone base provides air medical services that result in quicker response times for emergent and trauma situations. The base also supports patients in cooperation with EIRMC’s transport team, resulting in faster response times to patients in need. EIRMC offers the state’s only Burn Center; the region’s only Level I Intensive Care Unit, Level III Neonatal Intensive Care, and Pediatric Intensive Care units; and the region’s only Joint Commission Certified “Primary Stroke Center” and Behavioral Health Center.

“Since our West Yellowstone base began service in 2014, we have been proud to serve America’s first national park, and to bring our air medical resources to the residents and visitors of the greater Yellowstone region,” said Mike Jenkins, area manager for Air Methods. “Most of the calls to this base are tourist-related within the park, which includes trauma from traffic accidents and animal incidents. Our emergency air medical crews are dedicated to providing the best rapid-response, critical care possible for the people in this region.”

It’s been a strange, stressful year for our flight paramedics and nurses in eastern Idaho, with pandemic challenges adding a new burden to their ordinary tasks of patient transport and wilderness rescue. A job that once consisted of ferrying critical patients from outlying hospitals to larger facilities and stabilizing patients from trips deep in the backcountry and national parks in Idaho and Wyoming, is now strained by the complications of COVID-19.

For Air Idaho flight paramedic Kimber Dameron, new challenges arose for her and many other EMS workers: forming bonds with patients through dense suits that made them look like something out of a sci-fi movie; keeping whatever they’d need for a call outside their new protective suits; and following the pace of a year that felt impossible to get ahead of.

In rural America, small medical centers have seen an influx of patients due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and many patients have been turned away because there is simply not enough room. Planning during the past year for virtually anyone running health care systems in eastern Idaho was tough. At times for some rural hospitals, without ICU beds or the resources to care for COVID-19 patients whose health was rapidly declining, transferring patients to hospitals was an hour-by-hour affair.

Check out the recent coverage of the selfless work Air Idaho Rescue crews are doing eastern Idaho.

Latest air medical services base to provide lifesaving care to residents in emergency situations 

(GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colorado, November 27, 2019) – Air Idaho Rescue, an air program of Air Methods, the leading air medical service provider, a partnership with Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC) to open its newest base, located at EIRMC in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The base will provide air medical services to Bonneville, Bingham, Jefferson, Butte, Madison, Caribou, Bannock, and Fremont counties, as well as the surrounding areas, and will result in quicker response times for emergent and trauma situations. This new base will also support NICU patients in cooperation with EIRMC’s NICU transport team, resulting in much faster response times to patients in need. 

Air Methods will move its Air Idaho Rescue Air 5 AStar aircraft from Soda Springs, Idaho to Idaho Falls.  Air Methods will continue to cover the Caribou County service area with this and other Air Idaho Rescue air medical rotor wing and fixed wing aircraft. Officials from EIRMC, a Level II trauma center, recognized the growing need for an air medical service to serve the area (particularly babies in need), more rapidly and determined the need for the new base. At a time when more than 85 million Americans live more than an hour’s drive from Level I or II trauma centers, there is an increasing demand for air medical services to ensure that patients have access to necessary care centers. EIRMC offers the state’s only Burn Center; the region’s only Level I Intensive Care Unit, Level III Neonatal Intensive Care, and Pediatric Intensive Care units; and the region’s only Joint Commission Certified “Primary Stroke Center” and Behavioral Health Center.

“Having access to air medical services is incredibly important to our community, and is a key initiative for our organization,” said Jeff Sollis, CEO of Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls. “As the largest medical facility in the region, and the region’s healthcare hub, we serve many rural areas that require air medical services to address emergencies and save lives. Serving southeast Idaho, western Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, and parts of Montana, our partnership with Air Idaho Rescue is an integral element to the care we provide to both residents and tourists.”

EIRMC provides the highest level of NICU care in the region as the only Level III-B NICU in eastern Idaho, western Wyoming, and southwestern Montana. Supported daily by Neonatologists, Neonatal Nurse Practitioners, and specialty trained nursing and respiratory therapy staff, the EIRMC NICU is capable of taking babies as low as 22-weeks gestational age. The EIRMC NICU is also supported by a dedicated NICU transport team, staffed with Air Idaho’s team as well as EIRMC’s NICU nurses and respiratory therapists.  

Air Idaho Rescue provides essential and lifesaving services throughout the state of Idaho and surrounding communities. 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. The clinical support and speed of missions is critical to giving patients the best possible outcomes.

Air Idaho Rescue will provide air medical services 24/7/365 to the surrounding area. The base will be staffed by more than 16 crew members, including pilots, flight nurses, flight paramedics, and mechanics, and it will operate an AStar 350, the same type of helicopter that landed on Mount Everest. Its location will ensure patients have quick access to the full medical services available after initial transport.

“In emergency situations that we are called to, minutes can be the differences between life and death,” said Air Methods Area Manager Mike Jenkins. “We are excited to partner with EIRMC to service Southeastern Idaho and the surrounding areas to ensure emergency medical care is accessible to everyone in these communities. We would also like to thank Caribou Memorial Hospital for their valued partnership and look forward to continued service to the residents of Caribou County and the surrounding areas.”


About Air Methods
Air Methods 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:
Doug Flanders
Director of Communications, Air Methods

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