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Utah medical transports mark decades of service
Two US air medical transport and rescue programmes are celebrating major anniversaries; Intermountain Life Flight its 45th anniversary and Classic Air Medical its 35th.
Intermountain Health and Classic Air Medical are celebrating 45 and 35 years respectively.

Past patients, pilots, flight nurses, caregivers and first responders gathered on the helipad at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah to celebrate two medical milestones and the almost 200,000 lives that were aided and saved during many decades of service. Intermountain Life Flight is celebrating its 45th anniversary, while Classic Air Medical is commemorating its 35th. Both are part of the Intermountain Health system and serve patients throughout the nation.

Intermountain Life Flight, the only civilian air medical transport programme in the nation licensed and authorised by the FAA to perform hoist rescues, has one of the longest histories of service in the nation, beginning August 1978. The programme began with one helicopter at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City and has transported 118,756 patients by aircraft and helicopter over more than 17.3 million patient miles.

In 2022, it transported 4,548 patients with its fleet of seven helicopters, three aircraft, one Cessna jet and one Challenger long-range jet. The helicopters are designed to handle high altitude flights, as well as manoeuvres in the Mountain West's rugged terrain and extreme climate. In addition to hoist rescues, other specialty transport teams and services include neonatal, paediatric, rural ground transport, high risk obstetrics, mechanical circulatory support and respiratory support.

“The Intermountain Life Flight programme has a deep history, with Life Flight's first flight to Roosevelt, Utah in 1978 and Classic Air Medical beginning services on Memorial Day 1988,” says Intermountain Health president and CEO Rob Allen. “Combined, the two transport 32 patients a day. The success of the Intermountain Life Flight programme is thanks to the many caregivers in the air and on the ground who have dedicated themselves to helping our many communities and people in need.”

Classic Air Medical is celebrating 35 years of service and providing air medical support from 24 bases across the Rocky Mountain and Desert Southwest, with coverage from New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Idaho.

It joined Intermountain in 2021; together with Life Flight this forms the largest air ambulance service supporting not-for-profit healthcare in the US, with 31 bases throughout the Mountain West and 56 aircraft.

In 2022, Classic Air Medical transported approximately 6,559 patients with its fleet of 22 helicopters and 10 aircraft.

“The longevity and reputation of these two trailblazing air medical programmes shows Intermountain's commitment to providing coordinated care as close to home as possible,” says Tony Henderson, Classic Air CEO and executive director of medical transport services for Intermountain. “We thank our EMS partners and first responders throughout the region who have helped us reach these milestones and safely serve our many communities.”

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