Franklin Co., VA - It only takes Carilion Life Guard 10 a total of 12 minutes to get from its new home near Smith Mountain Lake to Roanoke Memorial Hospital, a level one trauma center.
In the past, the crew had to look for landing zones close to where an emergency was happening, such as a cow pasture, a football field, or a highway. A new hangar unveiled Tuesday helps cut down on flight time.
"To have something like this that you know is safe, that you know there's no hazards, they're not going to put up any wires or cell towers anywhere near here is a huge safety bonus," said Flight Nurse Krista Henderson.
"We can actually call them and say, hey are you going to be there at the hangar, yes we are. You be there at the helicopter, we're going to bring our patients to you," said Justin Hines with Franklin County Public Safety.
The new Westlake hangar is staffed 24-7 by a pilot, a nurse, and a paramedic. The helicopter waits for the next call.
"When we had the ability to get three aircraft, is we put them in a triangle formation around Roanoke because we wanted to move them out closer to where the patients are," Henderson said.
Life Guard 12 is based in Lexington, Life Guard 11 takes off from Christiansburg, and Life Guard 10 joins the fleet from Franklin County.
"Franklin and Bedford are two of our top referring counties. I would say we probably respond to one to two calls a day from this location, this base," Henderson said.
One of their calls involved Joy Barlow's brother and sister-in-law.
"She broke her back and he had head trauma and if it wasn't for Life Guard 10 transporting them to the hospital as quickly as they did, they might not be here," Barlow said.