New air evacuation team in Milledgeville aims to save lives

New air evacuation team aims to save lives

Milledgeville has a new emergency response resource.

Frederick Grabenstein has been an emergency responder for over 10 years, but now he’s taking on a new adventure as a flight paramedic for Air Evac Lifeteam.

“90% of the time if you’re going to pick them up in a helicopter, they need you," Grabenstein said.

Air Evac is an emergency medical transport helicopter ambulance that has a new hub in Milledgeville.

They not only serve the Milledgeville-Baldwin areas, but other surrounding counties like Hancock, Washington, Wilkinson, Jasper, Bibb and more.

“Going by air, it’s going to cut time of a ground transport at least in half or more," Joseph Phillips said.

Program Director for the 140 hub in Milledgeville, Joseph Phillips, says emergency air transport increases the survivability rate of their patients in the golden hour, the one hour Phillips says your body can sustain itself after a traumatic accident until you can reach care at a hospital.

That’s something Baldwin County Fire Chief Troy Reynolds says he’s grateful Air Evac can assist with.

“They can be in Macon, from what I understand, in about 10 minutes from lift-off if they were taking someone to a trauma center," Reynolds said. "Or in the fire service we’re always concerned with we’re always concerned with burn victims also getting over to Augusta really fast, so we’re excited about them being here and I think it’s a great asset for the whole community.”

On a flight, one paramedic, a registered nurse, and a pilot go out on a call.

In the helicopter are resources pretty similar to what a regular ambulance would carry.

Registered Nurse Jamie Blackwell says you always have to be prepared for the unknown.

“A lot of times you don’t know what you’re coming in to, especially if it’s a scene flight, we do get minimal information before we land so, just enough basically to prepare with the basics before we land," Blackwell said. "So you kind of just have to be ready for anything when you get out of the helicopter.”

But, both she and Grabenstein agree, they love what they do.

“You got pride in it that you were able to help somebody,” Grabenstein said.

“It’s the best job ever," Blackwell said.

Flights cost significantly more than an ambulance trip, and can run into tens of thousands of dollars. In most cases, insurance should pay for some of that.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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