Medical help is now closer than you think

| 24 Apr 2012 | 01:59

WEST MILFORD — For the last several weeks in the West Milford area, residents have probably been hearing a helicopter both in the afternoons and the evenings. At times it may have seemed like a military operation taking place. But that was not the case. It was our own flying superheroes training to save our lives.

As of Thursday, April 5, Hackensack University Medical Center now has a fully staffed state-of-the-art medically equipped helicopter, AirMed1, stationed at Greenwood Lake Airport in West Milford.

AirMed1 is staffed 24 hours a day with a flight nurse and flight paramedic from HackensackUniversity Medical Center,and the pilot is staffed by Air Methods of Denver, Colo. The super bright green helicopter can transport patients from Greenwood Lake Airport to Hackensack Medical Center in 11 mintues,according to Lisa Iachetti, Hackensack’s administrative director for emergency community operations and emergency medical services.

"Training at night was very important because they needed to train with the night vision goggles and learn the area before we could rescue anyone at night." Iachetti added. “The first call went very smoothly and with no problems.”

On Friday, April 6, at about 3:30 p.m., AirMed1 responded to its first call in West Milford. An unidentified 45-year-old woman was riding her bike on Route 23 near Doremus Road when she was knockedto the ground by a heavy gust of wind. The fall to the ground was so hard it cracked her helmet.

“Since Morristown Hospital was closest, she was airlifted to the Morristown Hospital," said Iachetti."Time is very important when trying to save lives.”

"This is just another way Greenwood Lake Airport is important to West Milford,” said Tim Wagner, manager of Greenwood Lake Airport."Small,general airports like Greenwood Lake Airport have many functions, and saving lives is one key part of that function.We are honored that HackensackUMC choose Greenwood Lake Airport to base this operation.”

In areas like West Milford, Wagner explained, there is no fast and easy way to get patients who need emergency medical care to hospitals.

“This helps bring crucial medical help to those who need it quickly, which is a great assist to West Milford,” Wagner concluded.