The Cadiz/Trigg County Chamber of Commerce met at Preacher’s Barbecue on Jan. 10, where Air Evac membership coordinators Devona Wright and Cindy Smalling spoke to members on the benefits of becoming an Air Evac member. The organization’s primary purpose is to provide helicopter transportation to accident victims facing medical emergencies.
Wright said that Air Evac has been in existence since 1985 and has been in Hopkinsville, the closest headquarters to Trigg County, since 1999. Wright spoke of the importance of accident victims getting help within what is known as the “golden hour.” After an automobile accident, the chances of survival are much better if the victim can be transported quickly and receives medical attention within an hour of an accident, she said. She said that it takes Air Evac helicopters approximately 12 minutes to get to Trigg County from Hopkinsville.
Wright said that a one-year membership in Air Evac costs $50 for a one-member household, $55 for a two-member household and $60 for a household of three or more. The cost completely covers transportation no matter how many times a year a member might need to be flown in a helicopter. In a medical emergency, members should call 911 and alert the operator that they are Air Evac members. Sometimes the organization’s helicopters are used to transport nonmembers as well. Although members’ transportation costs are covered by their membership fees, nonmembers could have to pay as much as $12,000, Wright said.
“It’s either a lot of zeros [in the price] or just a couple,” Wright said. “It’s up to you.”
Wright said that medical insurance will sometimes cover portions transportation costs for nonmembers, but only to certain extent. For example, some people have been flown to Nashville to receive treatment for perceived heart attacks only to discover that they are merely experiencing indigestion. Although Wright said this is rare, it has happened and insurance won’t cover those costs.
Wright said that Air Evac got 366 calls in 2006, an average of about one flight a day.
“We hate that we have to fly that much, but we’re glad that we’re there to help,” she said.
Read more about Air Evac Lifeteam memberships in the Cadiz Record.