FlightCare Celebrates 35 Years of Service
Area residents often look up with pride when they hear the rhythmic “whop, whop, whop” of Enloe’s FlightCare helicopter en route to provide emergency and critical care transport.
Celebrating 35 years of service, the program has flown more than 22,000 patients since its inception in July 1985. FlightCare was created to transport patients from growing mountain communities that were often difficult to get to by ground ambulance after Enloe Medical Center earned the designation as California’s first Level II Trauma Center. Back then, 20 caregivers made up the team.
Today, the program has expanded to include a highly skilled crew of six pilots, six nurses, six medics, and three mechanics, who together provide 24/7 year-round coverage and a back-up helicopter to ensure the area has as few service interruptions as possible.
“We are all so thankful and fortunate to do the job we get to do. It’s all made possible with the support of the hospital and community that believe and invest in the program,” said Jenny Humphries, RN, chief flight nurse and Emergency Medical Services clinical supervisor.
“We are all so thankful and fortunate to do the job we get to do,” said Jenny Humphries, RN, chief flight nurse and Emergency Medical Services clinical supervisor. “It’s all made possible with the support of the hospital and community that believe and invest in the program. When we pick up patients and bring them to the hospital, we have the peace and confidence that we’re bringing them to a place that offers excellent medical care.”
FlightCare serves eight counties in Northern California, including Butte, Tehama, Glenn, Plumas, Sierra, Yuba and parts of Lassen. It also regularly flies high-risk patients to medical centers in Sacramento and the Bay Area.
Enloe’s FlightCare has been at the forefront of the air ambulance industry from the start. It was the first air ambulance program north of Sacramento, was one of the first programs nationwide to launch a membership program and one of the first to receive Federal Aviation Commission certification to use night-vision goggles.
“Both aviation and critical care transport medicine technology have evolved over the years to bring us to where we are today: safer and better equipped to meet the needs of our patients,” Humphries added.
A Sense of Pride
FlightCare is unique in that the hospital owns and operates its helicopters, and its crew are employees of the medical center. In fact, FlightCare is the only hospital-owned and operated air medical service in the state. Its nurses work in the Emergency department when they’re not flying.
It’s a real sense of pride to know the program has been saving lives for 35 years and will continue to do so for many more," said Roger Srouji, FlightCare pilot supervisor and director of operations.
“The hospital is our super power that sets us apart from other flight care programs,” Humphries said. “It’s a huge key to our success. It provides us with more autonomy to meet the needs of the community we serve.”
Community members have shown their support of the program. In 2015, they donated $1.2 million to the Enloe Foundation to purchase a new helicopter and transport isolette.
“FlightCare is a unique program,” added Roger Srouji, FlightCare pilot supervisor and director of operations. He believes the helicopter has become a mascot of sorts for Enloe and a favorite among residents, who often smile from ear to ear when they have gotten a chance to see the helicopter up close at public events.
“They love the helicopter and the program, and we love being able to serve our neighbors,” he said. “It’s a real sense of pride to know the program has been saving lives for 35 years and will continue to do so for many more.”
FlightCare Membership Program
The FlightCare Membership Program assures that members will not be billed for out-of-pocket expenses when FlightCare or a reciprocating service transports them. For more information, visit www.enloe.org/flightcare.