Sun City Gets First Ever Air Transport Team
POSTED: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 9:29pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 9:40am
El Paso, TX — They're a special team, an airlift helicopter service and it's the first of its kind here in El Paso.
The NativeAir emergency response team wants to get the word out to local hospitals, local firefighters and emergency responders. They're ready and waiting to respond to an emergency and just a phone call away.
Craig Pino is a 24 year Army and Coast Guard veteran and as of a year ago, a pilot for this highly skilled air medical transport team.
"They have them in Las Cruces and Alamogordo. So the city itself has never been covered. The shortest helicopter flight is probably about 20 minutes or so to Las Cruces, so any accident victims here, any pediatric transfers needed to be done, there was never anything here to cover that," said Pino.
His years of training make him an asset to the team.
" I don't do the patient any good if I don't get the med crew there safely. That's my first priority," said Pino.
Today, Pino and his crew will be flying to Horizon Fire Department to help train them how to use the helicopter team as a tool.
"Its kinda hard to get an ambulance through rush hour traffic with lights and sirens. It really doesn't do much more for the traffic jam but a helicopter flies right over that in a matter of minutes," said Pino.
Martin McLellan is a Commissioner for Emergency Services. He says this kind of training is necessary.
“You know the speed from the time they either have a heart attack or trauma to the time to get to specialized care is so important right now that its becoming a great asset to the community. They need to learn to work closely with the helicopter team in these type of situations," said McLellan.
Horizon Fire Department Chief Allen Keys says training his guys is critical.
"Its critical for the safety of our people and the fire dept and emergency services and the citizens that we're trying to protect and provide a service for out here,” said Keys.
Especially getting those citizens from the outskirts of town to a hospital.
"The community has grown tremendously. The Horizon population has almost doubled. East El Paso is growing and again getting through traffic and to the hospital is critical," said Keys.
Another part of the team, Fabiola Cordero, an RN says she loves her job.
" I love being able to help the community. I love being able to be there whenever we're needed. People expect us to be there within a certain amount of time and I love the feeling when we're there and there's a sense of relief for the patient knowing that we're there to help. We're hand chosen, there's not a lot of us. I'm very honored to be here," said Cordero.
She says the most important part of her job is speed.
" The sooner we get the patient to the hospital, the sooner they get the care that they need," said Cordero.