Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Partnership soars between Chesterton and Superior Ambulance Services

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

Look - up in the sky!

Well, it’s not Superman per se but it is someone who is there to serve the public day and night.

Representatives from Superior Ambulance Service showed a bit of goodwill Thursday morning to its new contractual partner, the Town of Chesterton, by giving town manager Bernie Doyle, town attorney Chuck Lukmann, and Fire Chief Mike Orlich a ride in Superior’s brand new Eurocopter EC135.

“It’s a great resource to have,” said Orlich.

The town went online with Superior on June 1 at 8 a.m. There are currently two 24/7 staffed ambulances the town operates -- one at the CFD station and the other at the Franciscan St. Anthony Chesterton Health Emergency Center, Orlich said.

Orlich said that ambulance at the firehouse will be replaced with a permanent one possibly next week and will be on the streets once it is brought into service.

Having the services of the helicopter is “an added bonus,” said Doyle.

The helicopter touched down and took off from behind the emergency center coming from DuPage Airport where it is housed.

With speeds up to 150 miles per hour, the EC135 powered by two turbines can reach Chesterton in 20-30 minutes, said Mary Franco, Vice-President at Superior, moving at speeds about four times quicker than ground transportation.

Like an ambulance, the EC135 is equipped with a fully advanced life support system and certified personnel. It can airlift critically ill or injured patients to various centers in Illinois and Indiana and is on call all hours of the day, Franco said.

Franco explained that one of the reasons for bringing out the helicopter Thursday was for an instructional day for Superior staff learning how to set up a landing at the emergency center.

Medical Director for the emergency center Dr. David Hunnius and Clinical Manager Travis Thatcher-Curtis said that facility will be renovating its ambulance bay in the near future and afterward will construct some type of helipad.

Doyle said riding in the helicopter held a “sentimental attachment” for him as flight has been a part of his life starting about 40 years ago when he joined the U.S Air Force.

He operated as a commercial helicopter pilot and flew regularly for a company in Chicago throughout the 1980s.

“It’s like an old friend for me,” said Doyle.

Also in attendance were Deputy Fire Chief John Jarka and various CFD firefighters.

 

 

Posted 6/14/2013