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Thanks to the collaboration between Flight For Life® Colorado (FFLC), Centura Health and Children’s Hospital Colorado (Children’s Colorado), the organizations announced today that the new, state-of-the-art helicopter will take flight and begin serving neonatal and pediatric patients who need to be transported beginning May 1.
The Children’s Colorado and FFLC-branded helicopter is the first-of-its-kind and will serve patients around the Rocky Mountain region. The helicopter has been configured to meet the needs of the tiniest patients, featuring more interior space, and providing an improved platform for the isolette and other equipment essential to newborn and pediatric transport.
With the addition of the sixth helicopter for FFLC comes increased staffing to meet the growing demand for specialized transport in the region. Children’s Colorado’s FFLC program will now have two specialty teams available 24/7, including specially-trained nurses and respiratory therapists, supported by EMTs, pilots and communication specialists. Studies have found that the use of pediatric specialty care teams during transport improves outcomes for pediatric patients.
“The helicopter is an incredible tool that, combined with our world-class team of neonatal and pediatric experts who are the soul of our program, will help assure care to our most vulnerable patients as quickly as possible,” said Joe Darmofal, director of Flight Team, EMS, Outreach and Education at Children’s Colorado. “The helicopter and expanded staffing also illustrate the benefits of our strong and historic partnership with Centura and FFLC.”
Facts about the helicopter:
• The H130 T2 helicopter is manufactured by Airbus and will be based in the Denver-metro area. It will be supplied by AirMethods Corp, provider of FFLC’s current helicopter fleet, along with pilots, mechanics and supporting services.
• It was designed to be quieter, smoother and more fuel efficient than other helicopters.
• The helicopter will provide transportation to pediatric patients within a 120-mile service area, including Colorado, southwestern Nebraska and southern Wyoming.
• Children’s Colorado and FFLC have partnered since 1997 to optimize neonatal and pediatric transport services in the Rocky Mountain region.
“Children’s Hospital Colorado has relied on Flight For Life Colorado for 20 years, for its critical care transport needs,” FFLC Director Kathy Mayer said. “This expansion, to add a dedicated helicopter, is part of our 45-year long commitment to the communities we serve and to the patients who need us, across a nine-state region. We’re happy to be working with Children’s Colorado on this latest expansion of our service.”
9News talked to the program director of Flight for Life: "It's truly a specialty unit that we know will have results in improving the health of those kids who wind up transported on it," said Kathleen Mayer.
See coverage from CBS4 Denver's sneak peak of the helicopter at Centennial Airport.