Vanderbilt LifeFlight opens emergency helicopter base in West Tennessee
September 1, 2015
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  • Nashville – Vanderbilt LifeFlight has expanded its footprint into West Tennessee by adding an emergency helicopter base at the Henry County Airport.

    The base began 24/7 operations on Aug. 27. Lee McMurray, BSN, RN, CEN, CFRN, CCRN, NR/CC-Paramedic/FP-C, has been named chief flight nurse for the base.

    Henry County Medical Center (HCMC) CEO Thomas Gee said he and his team at HCMC were very excited to have Vanderbilt LifeFlight in the county.

    “We are excited to welcome Vanderbilt Lifeflight to Paris,” Gee said. “Lifeflight has a long history of service to Henry County Medical Center and our community, and having them located within the county will only enhance the ability of our citizens to access timely and quality health care services.”

    The helicopter has a four minute flight from the Henry County Airport to HCMC.

    Henry County Mayor Brent Greer said the new base would strengthen the delivery of health care services in the area.

    “On behalf of the Henry County Commission and the citizens of Henry County, I would like to express my appreciation and welcome to Vanderbilt Lifeflight on their decision to open a new base at the Henry County Airport,” he said. “This decision will greatly enhance the delivery of emergency medical ambulance service to our entire medical community. Henry County Medical Center is an important regional medical center for Northwest Tennessee and Southwest Kentucky and their decision to be a part of our medical community will only serve to strengthen our commitment to delivery of health care services.”

    Stephan Russ, M.D., associate professor of Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and associate chief of staff for Vanderbilt University Hospital, praised the support received from Henry County officials in establishing the new base.

    “We appreciate the help and guidance received from Henry County Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Thomas Gee, Henry County Medical Center Board of Trust, Henry County Mayor Brent Greer, Henry County Airport Manager Don Davenport, Henry County Medical Center EMS Director Twilla Rose, as well as numerous other community leaders,” Russ said. “The groundswell of support has been very encouraging as Vanderbilt LifeFlight makes its first expansion into West Tennessee.”

    “We look forward to continuing Vanderbilt LifeFlight’s commitment to excellence in education, patient care and patient safety with our hospital, EMS and 911 colleagues throughout West Tennessee,” Russ added. “For more than 31 years Vanderbilt LifeFlight has been delivering industry-leading medical care as a community asset, and we trust that our expansion into West Tennessee will strengthen the access, reach and viability of the program for many more years to come.”

    The aircraft is a twin engine Airbus Helicopter H-135 that can fly at speeds faster than 150 mph and has about a 35 minute flight time to Nashville area hospitals from Henry County. Additionally it is the only aircraft in the Henry County area that provides 360-degree access to the patient and has the ability to fly under instrument flight rules (IFR). The aircraft is also equipped with air conditioning, state-of-the-art navigation, a communications and avionics package that includes night vision goggles, and a terrain avoidance warning system.

    LifeFlight is also the only air medical service in Middle and West Tennessee that carries lifesaving blood products on every flight, and more than 10 percent of trauma patients flown receive blood while in flight.

    For $49 a year (family coverage) Air Methods offers a membership called OmniAdvantage.  OmniAdvantage members incur no out-of-pocket expense if flown by any Air Methods program (including Vanderbilt LifeFlight) for medically necessary emergent conditions.

    Vanderbilt LifeFlight also provides hospital-based emergency air medical transport services throughout Tennessee and Southern Kentucky, with remote helicopter bases in Lebanon, Tullahoma, Clarksville, Murfreesboro and Mt. Pleasant, Tenn. LifeFlight also operates an airplane base at Nashville International Airport and has four ground ambulances as well as an event medicine division.

    Since 1984 Vanderbilt LifeFlight has flown more than 35,000 patients and it is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Trauma Systems (CAMTS). LifeFlight transports to any medically appropriate hospital and has immediate access to the region’s only Level I Trauma Center, Burn Center and Children’s Hospital, all at VUMC.

    Air Methods provides aviation, fuel, maintenance, aircraft, dispatch, billing and EMS licensure while VUMC provides all medical staffing, patient care and clinical services for Vanderbilt LifeFlight.

    Air Methods Corporation ( is the global leader in air medical transportation. The Air Medical Services Division is the largest provider of air medical transport services in the United States. The United Rotorcraft Division specializes in the design and manufacture of aeromedical and aerospace technology. The Tourism Division is comprised of Sundance Helicopters, Inc. and Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, which provides helicopter tours and charter flights in the Las Vegas/Grand Canyon region and Hawaii, respectively. Air Methods’ fleet of owned, leased or maintained aircraft features over 450 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.

    LF 6 – West Tennessee (Henry County)

    Approximate Response Times to Area Hospitals

    Includes aircraft dispatch and startup times

    Henry County Airport to Henry County Medical Center – 12 minutes (8 minute startup/dispatch, 4 minute flight)

    Henry County Airport to Houston Co. Hospital – 25 minutes (8 minute startup, 17 minute flight)

    Henry County Airport to McKenzie Regional Hospital – 17 minutes (8 minute startup, 9 minute flight)

    Henry County Airport to Baptist Huntingdon – 19 minutes (8 minute startup, 11 minute flight)

    Henry County Airport to Camden General Hospital – 19 minutes (8 minute startup, 11 minute flight)

    Henry County Airport to Murray Calloway Hospital – 20 minutes (8 minute startup, 12 minute flight)

    Henry County Airport to Baptist Three Rivers Hospital – 24 minutes (8 minute startup, 16 minute flight)

    Henry County Airport to Henderson Community Hospital – 29 minutes (8 minute startup, 21 minute flight)

    Henry County Airport to Jackson Hospital – 33 Minutes (8 minute startup, 25 minute flight)

    LF 6 – West Tennessee (Henry County)

    Flight Times to Nashville

    Includes aircraft dispatch and startup times

    Henry County Medical Center to Nashville- 42 minutes (8 minute startup/dispatch, 34 minute flight)

    Houston Co. Hospital to Nashville- 28 minutes (8 minute startup, 20 minute flight)

    McKenzie Regional Hospital to Nashville- 47 minutes (8 minute startup, 39 minute flight)

    Baptist Huntingdon to Nashville- 45 minutes (8 minute startup, 37 minute flight)

    Camden General Hospital to Nashville- 37 minutes (8 minute startup, 29 minute flight)

    Murray Calloway Hospital, Ky. To Nashville- 45 minutes (8 minute startup, 37 minute flight)

    Baptist Three Rivers Hospital to Nashville- 30 minutes (8 minute startup, 22 minute flight)

    Henderson Community Hospital to Nashville- 47 minutes (8 minute startup, 39 minute flight)

    Jackson Hospital to Nashville- 57 minutes (8 minute startup, 49 minute flight)