LIFE FORCE 1 began operations in December 1988 with one aircraft averaging over 700 flights per year. With the expansions of LIFE FORCE 2 (Sparta Base) in 1995, LIFE FORCE 3 (Calhoun Base) in 2007 and LIFE FORCE 4 (Blue Ridge Base) in 2010, areas that were not previously served by air medical transportation, improved the odds in the race against time during the "Golden Hour". Now with 4 bases, LIFE FORCE's annual patient flights have almost tripled.
On July 1, 1994 LIFE FORCE became the first helicopter program in the nation to be equipped with a receiver that is certified to fly Global Positioning System (GPS) approaches. The GPS space-based radio positioning and navigation system provides safety and speed for LIFE FORCE when flying in weather conditions that are less than ideal. GPS can provide sufficient accuracy, integrity and availability to support precision approaches to landing locations. GPS can be the conerstone of all future air navigation.
In March 2008, LIFE FORCE placed in service the latest in night vision technology by adding night vision goggles (NVG). The U.S. Military has been the mainstay platform utilized in the development and refinement of viable night vision product for tactical applications. The civilian markets have recently recognized that NVG's provided helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) operators with increased situational awareness and enhanced safety throughout their programs.
LIFE FORCE CAPABILITIES
LIFE FORCE serves patients who have suffered any kind of severe trauma or burn, as well as severe medical illnesses. Each aircraft has equipment and the trained staff to care for people in all stages of life, from infants to geriatrics. LIFE FORCE may also be utilized in some situations, in search and rescue missions.
On-Scene and In-Flight Life-Saving Treatment Includes:
- Trauma Service
- Four units of blood carried on each flight
- On-scene surgical procedures and invasive circulatory intervention including surgical airways, chest tubes, central lines, saphenous vein cut downs.
- In-flight I-stat laboratory analysis and surgical preparations
- Heart & Stroke Intervention
- Aggressive cardiac and stroke protocols
- Ground-breaking cardiac drugs
- Cutting Edge Pediatric Care
- Specialized pediatric protocols and medications
- Dedicated neonatal transport team
- Labor & Delivery
- High-risk obstetric care
- In-flight fetal monitoring system including TOCO and ultracound
- Specialized OB medications
- UT College of Medicine
- Professors/physicians provide on-going training and advanced in-flight protocols which speed direct admissions to surgery, the cardiac catheterization lab, radiology and much more …
A highly qualified and aggressive maintenance department keeps LIFE FORCE flying with very little downtime. Each base has a complete Aviation Maintenance Section and includes FAA qualified Aircraft and Powertrain Technicians staffed around the clock. An extensive inventory of parts, specialized tools and equipment certified by the manufacturer help in preventive maintenance and comprehensive inspections are performed on a continuous basis.