|Director Brooks Bateman|
Monroe County's Trauma-Star helicopter
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Air Ambulance Operations
The Monroe County Trauma Star helicopter is based in Marathon and is staffed around the clock to be ready for launch at a moment's notice. County firefighters and Emergency Medical Services personnel have undergone extensive training to ensure they are ready to assist the helicopter when it needs to land at or near an accident scene.
The current Trauma Star helicopter is a 1982 Sikorsky S-76A++ was purchased by the Board of County Commissioners from Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania for $3.7 million dollars. It has twin Jet turbine engines and will travel at 175 miles per hour. It is configured to carry up to two pilots, two patients and four caregivers.
The original Trauma Star was a UH-1 "Huey" helicopter. It was originally built in 1968 and served as a military aircraft until it was retired from that service in 1996. It was purchased by the Monroe County Sheriff's Office in February of 2000 from Marion County for $326,000, using the proceeds from drug trafficking cases.the craft was completely outfitted for trauma service through a Florida EMS matching grant obtained by Monroe County Emergency Medical Services in the amount of $81,500.00.
Trauma Star can pick up patients at or near the scene of an accident or other trauma event and transport them directly to whatever hospital or trauma center is deemed necessary depending on the injuries involved. This service saves essential treatment time by avoiding slower ground transport. Ground transport to local hospitals was the only transportation method available prior to this time except in the upper Keys, where some air transport service was available. The only air transport from the middle and lower Keys prior to this was transport from local hospitals after initial treatment was provided there.
Trauma Star has been providing trauma transport since 2002. The helicopter is housed at the Sheriff's aviation hangar in Marathon, operated by Sheriff's Office pilots and carries paramedics from Monroe County Fire Rescue.