LifeFlight continues to serve region

Two helicopters land at a pad behind Sevier Valley Hospital Aug. 27. The LifeFlight program is scheduled to have a helicopter based in Richfield temporarily during the Rocky Mountain Jamboree later this month.

It’s something that has only happened twice in the last five years — two helicopters landed at the same time at Sevier Valley Hospital. 

The duo landing was for two unrelated medical emergencies that required individuals to be transported to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. While two copters landing at the hospital is fairly rare, LifeFlight often uses Richfield as a rendezvous point, said Adam Robinson, Richfield Municipal Airport manager. 

“When someone in St. George needs to be flown to Salt Lake, they can rendezvous here,” Robinson said. He said the airport allows the helicopters space to be refueled as patients are transported between aircraft. 

The airport also offers a service where helicopters can be fueled at the hospital’s landing pad. 

“It saves them time when they are in a hurry,” Robinson said. He said the airport has a fuel trailer located near the pad, which saves helicopters from having to fly out to the airport for refueling. The trailer is refilled when needed, but generally sits where it can be used at a moment’s notice.

“They generally take about 40 to 100 galloons, depending on weight,” Robinson said. 

Robinson said he is happy to provide the service.

“When we need them, it’s great they are here,” Robinson said. He estimated that LifeFlight makes five trips a week to Richfield.

Robinson himself once even took a ride in a LifeFlight copter after being injured. LifeFlight cuts down a two and a half to three hour ride to between 40 and 55 minutes, depending on the destination — Provo or Salt Lake City.

“The LifeFlight team includes the pilot, registered nurse, respiratory therapist and paramedics, all with a vast amount of experience and specialized training,” said Camille Ogden, the nurse manager for SVH’s emergency room. “The skill and knowledge of our LifeFlight team is greatly valued and provides patients and their families peace of mind. Our SVH team is always happy to see them and we often share hugs and tears with each other.”

LifeFlight provides air transport to all our communities in central Utah. This means often flying to the scene, whether it is on Interstate 70, a rural highway, or on an isolated mountaintop. 

“The LifeFlight teams are our friends and we have strong mutual respect for one another,” Ogden said. “We are very fortunate to have them on our healthcare team.”

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