CareFlight more than an ambulance in 35th year: ‘We have a daughter,’ dad says

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Combined ShapeCaption
CareFlight more than an ambulance in 35th year

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

CareFlight, the air-medical transport service, is celebrating 35 years of service and will be participating in the 2018 Vectren Dayton Air Show this weekend.

The service began in 1983 as the first air medical program in the region and the 65th civilian air ambulance program in the nation to fly critically ill or injured patients.

"We have a daughter today," Buzz Seilhamer told News Center 7's Caroline Reinwald on Wednesday. "CareFlight gave us our daughter back."

>> Insider's guide to Dayton Air Show

Seilhamer recounted the night when he received a phone call that his daughter had been in a vehicle accident in Jamestown and had to be taken to a hospital by CareFlight.

She was in a hospital three months, he said, and he believes the air medical service not only saved her life but also served as a wake-up call.

>> Preview: Get ready for amazing aerial acts

"CareFlight brought her into the realm of reality," Seilhamer said, and offered his daughter a look at how serious situations can become.

The reality of what CareFlight can do quickly becomes evident as its Dauphin helicopters race across the sky.

The airships have multiple safety features, several technological advances including night vision goggle compatible lighting and weather radar. Each helicopter can move at up to 180 mph.

"We've transitioned into the kind of aircraft with unique capabilities that no other air medical aircraft service can do, such as transporting two patients at a time," Mandy Via, outreach manager, flight nurse services, told News Center 7's Caroline Reinwald on Wednesday.

Combined ShapeCaption
CareFlight flight nurses Stephanie Fitchpatrick, left, and Anna Houser return from a mock crash scene flight to Bradford High School which is part of the program's community outreach. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

CareFlight flight nurses Stephanie Fitchpatrick, left, and Anna Houser return from a mock crash scene flight to Bradford High School which is part of the program's community outreach. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
CareFlight flight nurses Stephanie Fitchpatrick, left, and Anna Houser return from a mock crash scene flight to Bradford High School which is part of the program's community outreach. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Via also said that because CareFlight operates as an IFR program, which means the service is flying by instrument.

"There are times when weather may not allow another air medical provider to go out, but because we are IFR based" (navigating by reference to instruments in the cockpit)... "we can go out and access patients where others can't."

Via said she estimates that CareFlight has made more than 35,000 patient transports during its 35-year run.

"We're always looking at how we can improve, how we can deliver the best care for our patients," she said.

Whether it’s traffic updates to and from the air show, or weather reports from Storm Center 7 while you are there, AM 1290 and News 95.7 WHIO has you covered. You can listen this weekend on-air or in the WHIO app.

About the Author