BRADFORD — Emergency responders in Anderson County and the surrounding region soon will have access to new heliports that will support medical transport of critical-care patients to hospitals in Dallas and Tyler.
The facilities, located between Palestine and Athens off State Highway 19, are the result of a public-private partnership between the Bradford community, local emergency departments and Bradley Oaks Ranch.
EMS personnel and pilots began preliminary trials this week at the heliports, which are expected to be fully operational later this summer.
In January, the Anderson County Commissioners Court approved zoning regulations for two heliports and three landing pads on the Bradley Oaks Ranch property. The zoning restricts the height of any surrounding structures, including power and transmission lines that can be dangerous for aircraft.
The helipads also are safely away from wildlife habitats on the property, including identified nesting sites of American bald eagles. Each of the three landing pads will be available for emergency use, allowing for landings by multiple helicopters, which have been needed in the past to more effectively respond to severe traffic accidents and other emergencies.
“Our community has seen too many instances when a rapid response and transport was needed to help victims of auto accidents, heart attacks and strokes, but there simply were no safe places for emergency helicopters to land,” says Randy Egger, spokesperson for Bradley Oaks Ranch. “We’re proud to be a part of a community initiative to bring enhanced emergency care to the area.”
Currently, there are no Level II (major) trauma facilities in Anderson County or the surrounding communities. As a result, many severely injured victims must be transported by helicopter to larger hospitals.
Over the years, numerous clinical studies by respected medical organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, have shown that effective therapies for stroke and heart attack victims must be administered at a hospital, but they lose their effectiveness if not given within the first three hours after symptoms appear.