HONOLULU (KHON2) — Due to Thursday night’s crash, Hawaii Life Flight is grounding its services for now. But, those services are still critically needed. So the state is teaming up with the Hawaii National Guard, the counties and mainland companies to take over.
Hawaii Life Flight is on Safety Stand Down, meaning none of its planes or crews will be going up in the air. So, Gov. Josh Green issued an emergency proclamation Friday morning which would allow licensed medical personnel from out of state to work here to provide air ambulance services.
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“We already have a team that’s been assembled, and we expect them to land. Somewhere between midnight and 6:00 a.m. Hawaii time and as soon as they’re rested and ready, they’ll be able to resume the work that Hawaii Life Flight provides,” said Green.
He said there are usually 10-15 air ambulance transfers a day. There is a jet that is coming in from the mainland. The Hawaii National Guard will be providing at least two Black Hawk helicopters. One will be stationed on Oahu, the other one on the Big Island.
“These Blackhawk helicopters are specifically configured to provide medical missions, medical evacuations and en route care,” said Brig. Gen. Stephen Logan, deputy adjutant general.
AMR Hawaii which is owned by the same company that owns Hawaii Life Flight, has helicopters that can be used. The company is providing the jet that is already on its way, and could provide crews if needed.
“We have crews on the East Coast. We have airplanes on the West Coast, and they’re coming together to support the community,” said Speedy Bailey, AMR Hawaii Regional Director.
Bailey said it is not clear how long the safety stand down will last. But, this contingency plan should be enough to cover the services that Hawaii Life Flight has been providing. The governor said extra measures are also in place that should cut down the number of air ambulance transfers in the near future.
Hospitals within the same island are also working together and plan to pool their resources and keep in constant contact to limit the number of air transfers needed.
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“So it really is a coming together of the minds and expertise on our island to make sure that any transport that is necessary is ultimately necessary,” said Elena Cabatu, spokesperson for Hilo Medical Center.