Life Flight opening helicopter base on Whidbey

The nonprofit air ambulance will reduce response times and help with transfers to specialty clinics.

By Laura Guido / Whidbey News-Times

OAK HARBOR — Emergency transportation will soon be more immediate on Whidbey Island.

Life Flight Network is opening a new base at WhidbeyHealth Medical Center.

The ambulance service is expected to begin operations by late summer.

Having the nonprofit air ambulance nearby will reduce response times and increase efficiency of transfers to specialty clinics, said Sean LeVine, assistant manager of WhidbeyHealth EMS.

The helicopter, pilot and medical crew will all be based on the island.

The new base will create almost 20 jobs on Whidbey, according to a press release.

“We would be very familiar with them, which I think is a huge benefit in this field,” LeVine said.

The Life Flight helicopter and crew will also serve the surrounding area, and it will be the second northwest Washington location in the network, the release states.

WhidbeyHealth will house an AgustaWestland AW109E helicopter, which can travel 172 mph and is equipped to act as a mobile intensive care unit.

The aircraft is expected to be kept on the helipad at the hospital. The nonprofit medical transport service also has a base in Port Angeles that serves the region.

Life Flight Network is the largest nonprofit air medical services in the U.S., the release states. It serves the Western part of the country, including Alaska.

This story first was published Friday in the Whidbey News-Times, a sibling Sound Publishing publication of The Daily Herald of Everett.

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