Air Evac marks 5th anniversary, opens new location in Statesboro - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Air Evac marks 5th anniversary, opens new location in Statesboro

BULLOCH CO., GA (WTOC) -

Access to trauma care isn't a problem when you live in Savannah.

But what about when you live hundreds of miles from a trauma hospital?

Tuesday, Air Evac, a private medical helicopter service, increased its presence in the region.

None of us necessarily want to ride in the patient seat of a trauma helicopter. But in our moment of need, we want to know it's just a phone call away.

Air Evac marked its fifth anniversary in Statesboro by officially moving from rented space at the Statesboro airport to building their own base on Fair Road.  They serve in Bulloch and surrounding counties.

Leaders like Lee Eckles say this medical helicopter can save the lives of cardiac and trauma patients in rural areas far from big city hospitals.

“We couldn't begin to buy and maintain a helicopter and hire a crew, a highly trained medical crew,” said Public Safety Department Director Eckles.

The company now has nine bases in rural parts of Georgia. People can pay an annual fee that acts as a copay if they ever need treatment.  But the team responds to emergencies, whether the patient has a membership or not.

"We're an extension of the emergency medical services that already exist in our communities. Eckles knows first-hand the benefit, as he was the patient getting flown two years ago,” said Air Evac Vice President Daniel Sweeza.

"Without them, the Golden Hour is destroyed on the interstate. We lose time,” said Eckles.

Sweeza says they've had even more member support than they imagined when they made the move and Air Evac hopes to be here for many years to come.

Air Evac has local bases in Vidalia and Jesup, along with more than 200 others across 32 states.

Copyright 2016 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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