What started as a 90-day trial for emergency air transport at Sky Ridge Medical Center has turned into an indefinite residency that has saved countless lives.
The AirLife crew at the Lone Tree medical facility is now five years into their journey, and they finally have a permanent place to call home. Sky Ridge officials celebrated the unveiling of a 6,300-square-foot helicopter hangar that is expected to help improve response time and provide a few comforts of home for the team on duty.
AirLife medical personnel have been staying in a mobile trailer on the south end of the hospital's property. It housed the crew, but did nothing to shelter the primary piece of equipment needed to rush urgent patients to the emergency room.
De-icing operations in the winter months can take 10-15 minutes, and everyone knows time is of the essence for critical patients.
Maureen Tarrant, chief executive officer of Sky Ridge Medical Center, said it's those minutes that could be the difference in saving a life. The hangar is an example of Sky Ridge's continuing effort to advance its level of care, Tarrant said.
Any repairs or maintenance, such as oil changes, can now be performed away from the elements.
The $1.7 million project, which began last July and wrapped up in December, also includes crew quarters for five employees.
AirLife members joked during the grand opening ceremony about retiring a gaudy flamingo lawn decoration that greeted visitors who stopped by the mobile trailer.