Life Saver medical helicopter base closes in Birmingham - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Life Saver medical helicopter base closes in Birmingham

Posted: Updated:
A Life Saver helicopter. Source: WBRC video A Life Saver helicopter. Source: WBRC video
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Huntsville school board member named in civil suit by former employer

    Huntsville school board member named in civil suit by former employer

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:56 PM EDT2014-08-22 03:56:59 GMT
    Mike Culbreath is accused of conspiring with James Packard, a competing developer, to convince potential tenants to choose a competing development in the City of Huntsville.More >>
    Mike Culbreath is accused of conspiring with James Packard, a competing developer, to convince potential tenants to choose a competing development in the City of Huntsville.More >>
  • Three children found in home with meth lab outside

    Three children found in home with meth lab outside

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:30 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:30:49 GMT
    Authorities arrested Ashley Freeno and Christopher Silva after finding a methamphetamine lab outside their home. Further investigations revealed that drugs and other paraphernalia were inside their home where three young children live.The Department of Human Resources have placed the children into the custody of family members.Freeno was charged with manufacturing meth in the 2nd degree and two counts of possession. Silva was charged with manufacturing meth in the 1st degree and two counts of...More >>
    Authorities arrested Ashley Freeno and Christopher Silva after finding a methamphetamine lab outside their home. Further investigations revealed that drugs and other paraphernalia were inside their home where three young children live.The Department of Human Resources have placed the children into the custody of family members.Freeno was charged with manufacturing meth in the 2nd degree and two counts of possession. Silva was charged with manufacturing meth in the 1st degree and two counts of...More >>
  • Man arrested after agents seized over one pound of meth, three firearms, and one vehicle

    Man arrested after agents seized over one pound of meth, three firearms, and one vehicle

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:11 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:11:14 GMT
    On Aug 14, the Madison-Morgan STAC Team and Morgan County Drug Task Force responded to complaints from the community near Hulaco Road.Upon arrival, a search warrant was carried out at the home of Dustin Tyler Smith in Joppa Alabama.Agent had begun a new investigation Agents seized over one pound of methamphetamine, three firearms, and one vehicle.Smith was arrested in 2013 for trafficking in methamphetamine. He was out on bond and also on Community Corrections regarding his most recent arrest...More >>
    On Aug 14, the Madison-Morgan STAC Team and Morgan County Drug Task Force responded to complaints from the community near Hulaco Road.Upon arrival, a search warrant was carried out at the home of Dustin Tyler Smith in Joppa Alabama.Agent had begun a new investigation Agents seized over one pound of methamphetamine, three firearms, and one vehicle.Smith was arrested in 2013 for trafficking in methamphetamine. He was out on bond and also on Community Corrections regarding his most recent arrest...More >>
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

A Life Saver medical transport base closed permanently Tuesday in Birmingham.

Birmingham was one of the first cities in the country to have Life Saver and medical helicopter was based at Carraway Medical Center. A regional manager for Life Saver's parent company says a lack of funding and uncertainty with the health care reform law was behind the decision.

The inside of a Life Saver helicopter is like a hospital on wings.

Within minutes, the chopper can take off and fly to an emergency scene like a car wreck, and provide critical care support.

"So we bring basically your ICU, your ER; we bring this to the patient," Traci Jones with Life Saver said.

For more than 30 years, that's what this chopper did. It would fly out from Carraway Medical Center in Birmingham, pick up patients and then bring them back downtown. But over time, the owners of Life Saver, Air Methods Corporation, saw a need for change.

"They realize the people that need air medical transport were out in the rural areas so they wanted to place helicopters outside the downtown area," Jones said.

"All the major accidents that go on in the Birmingham metro, it's much faster for ground units to take them in," Gary Boullion with Air Methods Corporation said.

So with choppers based in Rainbow City, Sylacauga and Opelika, company officials decided to shut the Birmingham base down.

"This is an economic decision, absolutely," Boullion said. "The volume at this base has dropped and dropped over time due to the changing market factors and the way things work."

Care Flight, which flies for Children's of Alabama, will continue to operate out of the Carraway Medical Center. And Life Saver officials say even with that portion of aid leaving downtown, they don't expect a major impact.

"We don't anticipate any reduced services for the metro area," Boullion said.

Besides the bases Rainbow City, Sylacauga and Opelika, Life Saver is also planning to open a Tuscaloosa base soon.

Fifteen employees were stationed at the Birmingham base and Air Methods Corporation officials say they're trying to place them elsewhere in the company. A similar base in Morgan County will also be shut down.

Copyright 2013 WBRC. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow

1414 North Memorial Parkway
Huntsville, AL 35801
256-533-4848

WAFF Is a Proud Member
of the Raycom Family of Stations


FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WAFF. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.