Life Flight Network holds grand opening; medical transport needed mid-event

On Wednesday, Life Flight Network celebrated a grand opening of their Hoquiam base at Bowerman Field. 

The company announced in January their intent to bring a new critical care transport base to Hoquiam. 

According to a release, the new base is said to be part of a continued effort to expand rural access to critical air medical resources, and is meant to provide lifesaving care to the Olympic Peninsula and the surrounding communities.

While the company officially began operating locally in June, the event was an opportunity for local officials and the public to meet with the company and see the aircraft in person at the company’s newest critical care transport base.

Speaking with Life Light Network CEO Ben Clayton, he told KXRO that the Hoquiam location was chosen as the latest base because they saw the benefit that such a service could provide.

Clayton says that currently the Hoquiam base is staffed 24/7 by a pilot, nurse, paramedic, and a mechanic, with additional staffing possible based on need.

When asked about how often the service is used in Hoquiam, Clayton said that they have already felt the needs locally, with their services being used regularly.

In addition to the helicopter crew, a fixed wing aircraft is also an option as staffing allows and the incident requires, with additional resources at other bases throughout the region if more aircraft are needed.

At the time of the announcement, Hoquiam Fire Chief Matt Miller said, “Their presence will enable us to expedite transport of critical patients to definitive care, saving countless lives. We have worked side by side with their organization many times and their crews have proven to be trustworthy, capable, and reliable. We look forward to welcoming them to the area and continuing to work together to care for this community.”

Life Flight staff told KXRO that while transporting a patient via ambulance from Grays Harbor to Olympia may take over an hour, their aircraft are able to make that trip in approximately 15 minutes, potentially saving a life when advanced medical care is needed most.

During the grand opening, the Hoquiam Fire Department received an EMS call that required the service, delivering a patient to Bowerman before the Life Flight Network helicopter crew took them for further medical care.