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  • AirCare 1 and AirCare 2 on the deck at UMMC.
    AirCare 1 and AirCare 2 on the deck at UMMC.

    Department of Helicopter Transport

    The University of Mississippi Medical Center's Helicopter Flight program was established in 1996 with a single helicopter based in Jackson. The Jackson-based AirCare 1 helicopter was joined by the Meridian-based AirCare 2 helicopter the spring of 2009. The second helicopter has allowed the AirCare program to slightly change its mission profile by transporting patients to not only UMMC but to other hospitals providing a higher level of care. It has also increased our scene response capabilities, we can now transport up to 3 patients from a single location. Since the program's inception, the AirCare teams have safely transported over 16,000 adult, pediatric and neonatal patients over 2 million miles without any FAA-reportable accidents.

    The helicopters are unique to the state of Mississippi in that both are operated under single-pilot Instrument Flight Rules, meaning the pilot may be able to complete flight requests in some marginal weather conditions. Both aircraft are outfitted with autopilot systems, color-weather radar systems and anti-collision instruments to increase patient and flight team safety and full heating and air-conditioning systems to ensure patient comfort. Night vision goggles are used during all night operations.

    Medical flight crews consist of dedicated flight nurses and flight paramedics and work closely the UMMC's Newborn Transport Team and because of this relationship AirCare is capable of transporting adults, pediatrics and neonates. One hundred percent of the flight nurses hold a minimum of one specialty distinction such as CCRN, CEN or CFRN. The flight paramedics also hold advanced distinctions in areas such as Mississippi Critical Care Paramedic and Certified Neonatal-Pediatric Transport. Medical personnel have professional backgrounds ranging from over 25-years of EMS experience, Adult and Pediatric ICU experience and Adult and Pediatric Emergency Department Experience.

    Two units of O-negative blood are carried aboard all AirCare aircraft. Additional medical capabilities include the initiation and maintenance of peripheral arterial lines, RSI, and capnography monitoring of all intubated patients. Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma (FAST) bedside ultrasound exam can be done on all trauma patients in flight.

    Flight requests and aircraft communications are coordinated by Mississippi MedCom. MED-COM is manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

    The helicopters are operated by PHI Air Medical, LLC, a FAA Part 135 certificate holder.

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    Flight requests 888-UMC-2345

    Any questions concerning the AirCare program should be directed to Donna Norris.

    Written inquiries may be sent to:

    • Helicopter Transport Department, AirCare
              University of Mississippi Medical Center
              2500 N. State St.
              Jackson, MS 39216-4505