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City Council supports proposal for Air Medical Base in Apopka


By Mickenzie Hannon, Interning Correspondent for The Apopka Voice

The Apopka City Council unanimously supported the advancement of a proposed partnership between the Apopka Fire Department and Air Methods/Air Care Helicopter Service at its Wednesday meeting.

The vote to advance the proposal came after a presentation from Apopka Fire Chief Sean Wylam.

“Implementing Air Care in Apopka would bring a resource that would exponentially increase public safety in our city in regard to emergency medicine by providing additional access to critical care in our community,” Wylam said.

Air Care is a partnership between Orlando Health and Air Methods to bring critical care transport via three helicopters to the central Florida region. Air Methods supplies 3 Airbus, EC-135 Helicopters and pilots to operate them. Orlando Health provides expert medical care, including a critical care paramedic and a critical care nurse assigned to each helicopter, as described by Wylam.

Some Apopka commissioners raised concerns about the loudness and the impact on residential areas and nearby businesses, but Commissioner Kyle Becker explained the low decibel levels the helicopters produce.

During a community meeting, Becker experienced the Air Care helicopter take-off.

“The helicopter never got above 80,” he said. “In the context of a siren from a fire truck, it would be much lower than that.”

Bringing Air Care to Apopka would supplement the work first responders are already performing and make resources more available.

“If we have this partnership and develop this training, they can actually take over patient care while our team is working on extricating the patient if necessary,” Wylam said.

From there, Air Care transports patients to the corresponding and necessary facility depending on the severity of the condition.

In Florida, Air Methods are currently based in Leesburg, Kissimmee, and Longwood with a fleet of three helicopters. Wylam’s proposal would relocate the Longwood helicopter to Apopka and create an Air Medical Base. The proposed base site is west of the Apopka Fire Station 4, which is located at 2750 West Orange Avenue.

The potential Apopka Fire Department partnership with Air Methods/Air Care Helicopter Service will return on May 19th, the next city council meeting, as an agenda item.

Air Care, Air Methods, Apopka Fire Chief Sean Wylam, Apopka Fire Department, city council, City of Apopka, Helicopter Service, Orlando Health, Partnership, Proposal


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