After a busy year of operations, Classic Air Medical crews and Grand County Search and Rescue team members are ready for a short break. But instead of celebrating on their own, the two partners are inviting everyone in the community to join them.
On Saturday, Nov. 1, they’re hosting an open house at the Grand County Emergency Operations Center/ Search and Rescue building, which is located at 2600 S. U.S. Highway 191.
The free event will be held from noon to 3 p.m., giving local residents the opportunity to meet both crews, and to see what the inside of a Classic Air Medical helicopter looks like.
“It’s just a good chance for the public to see what we’re all about,” Classic Air Medical Base Manager/ Flight Paramedic John Bingham said.
Classic Air Medical Marketing and Business Development Specialist Angelica Sage said that residents will be able to learn more about the people behind local emergency medical flights and rescue operations, as well as the equipment they operate.
“It’s not often that you have that chance,” she said.
Students who are interested in careers as flight nurses or paramedics will be especially welcome at the event, as will anyone else who wants to see what the company’s pilots do for a living.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to come by and think of it as a career day,” Sage said.
If that doesn’t sound enticing enough, consider this: Crews will be serving free bowls of homemade chili.
Other great deals can also be found on Saturday: According to Sage, attendees will have the chance to sign up for the company’s membership program at a reduced cost.
Annual family memberships for emergency flight coverage typically go for $60, but they will be available at the open house event for $40. Although the memberships are only available to residents with health insurance, they will provide additional peace of mind in the event that a family member needs to be transported via the company’s Classic Lifeguard helicopters.
“It covers what your insurance does not,” Sage said. “You will never have an out-of-pocket expense.”
The program’s coverage extends beyond Moab to all of the company’s other bases in Utah, Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming.
While the company is known today for its sometimes-dramatic rescue operations and medical flights across those states, it actually began as a tourist service that flew visitors over Bryce Canyon National Park.
As time wore on, though, it conducted more and more transportation services for injured or stranded visitors in the Lake Powell area. In 1988, the company launched a seasonal medical evacuation service in Page, Arizona, and over the years, it branched out to provide round-the-clock service at other locations in the West.
That expansion is continuing to this day: Sage spoke to the Moab Sun News from Los Alamos, New Mexico, where the company is getting ready to open its newest base.
Classic’s crews launched their first flights from the Moab emergency operations center in the summer of 2013, and since then, they’ve built up a mutually-beneficial relationship with the Grand County Sheriff’s Office and the Grand County Search and Rescue team.
“It’s a wonderful relationship, to be able to assist them and to get to a patient much quicker,” Sage said.
Bingham calls the service a new tool in the search and rescue team’s toolbox.
“We can get their team members to a patient there much faster,” Bingham said.
One of its first missions in the Moab area demonstrated just how fast it works: A recreationist was reported missing in a rugged location, and as dusk turned to night, the odds of finding the man immediately appeared to grow slimmer.
“The area it was in, it would have been almost two hours before they could have found him,” Bingham said.
But with the help of its night-vision technology, the Classic team tracked the man down within 10 minutes, according to Bingham.
Missions like that one make all the difference in Bingham’s mind.
“I am just so happy that Classic is in the community,” he said.
For more information about Classic Air Medical, go to: http://www.classicairmedical.com/, or call its non-emergency office number at 800-444-9220. To learn more about Grand County Search and Rescue, visit http://www.gcsar.org/241/Grand-County-Search-Rescue-GCSAR.
Community invited to meet with crew members
What: Classic Air Medical/ Grand County Search and Rescue open house
When: Saturday, Nov. 1, noon to 3 p.m.
Where: Grand County EOC/ Search and Rescue building, 2600 S. U.S. Highway 191