BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Healthcare provider O.S.F. is expanding its services within McLean County and Bloomington-Normal.
On Thursday, the hospital company blessed and officially opened its new hangar for its LifeFlight helicopters at Central Illinois Regional Airport.
Now, a helicopter and crew will be staffed 24/7 in the Twin Cities and can be at the scene in a matter of a few minutes.
President of O.S.F. St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington Lynn Fulton said this is crucial in critical situations because LifeFlight technicians are some of the first people to render care to a patient.
“What that means is if a patient throughout our region experiences a medical emergency, [like] a trauma, and they need fast access to medical care, the helicopter is deployed from here, so they’re able to get to the patient faster, start that care, and get them to the trauma center that much quicker,” Fulton said.
A priest and nun blessed the hangar at the airport this morning, surrounded by flight crews, local leaders, and medical professionals.
“They would actually come from Peoria, sit here during the day and then get deployed when needed, but they still a lot of times had to go back to home base in Peoria because they have to be plugged in and have their maintenance,” Fulton said. “Since we have this hangar right here, they’re able to do all of that right here in Bloomington.”
Fulton said the project has been in the works for a couple of years and is expanding upon the services offered in Peoria that serviced McLean County in the past.
The team now based in Bloomington full-time consists of four pilots, 10 flight nurses and paramedics, and two mechanics.