Twiggs County Sheriff Darren Mitchum says the area's emergency medical services could use some resuscitation.
Twiggs calls in ambulances from the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, but that's nearly 45 miles away from some southern parts of the county.
"I've been here over 20 years and there's been numerous, numerous incidences where you have a heart attack victim and you know you can't 30, 45 minutes to an hour," says Major Jamie McDaniel with the sheriff's office."A lot of times, we'll throw them in our patrol car and we'll get them to the hospital, and if we can't get them to the hospital, we'll meet the ambulance on I-16."
After several years of exploring other options like asking the Medical Center for an ambulance substation and even trying to stock an ambulance of their own, an answer finally came to Twiggs County from up above.
An emergency medical helicopter, housed in Dublin, will now also make trips to some patients in southern areas of Twiggs County with severe medical emergencies.
McDaniel says, "You're looking at a time that the helicopter can warm up, take flight, land, triage a patient, and still get them to the hospital in the time it normally takes for an ambulance to leave Macon and get to the scene."
Mitchum says the Air Evac Flight Team will work with insurance companies to determine a cost that won't cause an emergency for the patient's bank account.
Twiggs sheriff's deputies trained Thursday morning on creating landing pads and assisting the crews.
Sheriff Mitchum says the air evacuation program is now ready for takeoff in the next emergency situation.