Dare MedFlight gets new home

Published 3:34 pm Monday, June 10, 2024

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Dare County officials held a public ribbon cutting ceremony Monday afternoon, June 3, 2024 marking the completion of the new Dare MedFlight helicopter hangar at 1078 Driftwood Drive in Manteo.

Checking in at just under $10 million, the new 14,320-square-foot hangar for the twin-engine Dare MedFlight Airbus H-145 helicopter is about twice the size of the 36-year-old hangar and separate 54-year-old structure housing the crew quarters that it replaces.

In cases where every minute matters, Dare County EMS director Jennie Collins said having the crew housed at the hanger will improve response times.

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In addition to room for crew quarters, Collins explained that there is also a kitchen, training room, a work and study area and laundry room, making it a home away from home for on-duty MedFlight crew members.

During his comments, Dare County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Woodard pointed out that Dare County is home to the only helicopter in North Carolina dedicated solely to EMS transports.

Woodard went on to say building Station 7 is just one part of a larger puzzle.

In 2022, Dare County approved close to $43 million in a capital improvement plan for replacement of three older facilities: Dare MedFlight Station 7, EMS Station 1 in Kill Devil Hills, and EMS Station 4 in Southern Shores. Oakley Collier Architects and Barnhill Contracting Company, both in Rocky Mount, handled the design and construction.

Other EMS stations slated for eventual upgrades include Station 8 in Manns Harbor, Station 5 in Nags Head, Station 2 in Manteo, Station 3 in Frisco and Station 6 in Rodanthe, A new EMS station in Kitty Hawk is also on the drawing board. The planned renovations and modernization are aimed at improving responses to the growing number of emergency calls received.

MedFlight hangar work began in the spring of 2023 and crews will finish moving all the equipment from the old hangar to the new one later in the week.

Following the ceremonial ribbon cutting, attendees were encouraged to tour the new facility inside a gated area of the Dare County Regional Airport. In addition to safety equipment overviews, there were free blood pressure checks, “Stop the Bleed” training demonstrations, CPR demonstrations, and the MedFlight helicopter was open for viewing.

Dare MedFlight first began operating in 1975 and is one of three county-owned primary mission aeromedical operations in the nation. Current staff includes five pilots, two full-time mechanics and 12 flight paramedics.