Airlift Northwest serves region through base in Pasco

PASCO, Wash. – Airlift Northwest can now serve even more patients with their base out of the Pasco Airport.

They started 12 hour shift last spring, and in September 2021 they started 24-hour operations to help patients in need.

“We’re essentially a flying ICU, we take care of patients of any age nearly any diagnosis,” Kate Knutson, a Flight and Outreach Nurse said.

While they hope to have their own hangar and headquarters, for now they’re stationed at Bergstrom Aircraft.

“Our whole team here in Pasco really loves doing their job, they love serving this community here and really having that reward of making that difference,” Kate said.

Knutson said with the population growth of the Tri-Cities and surrounding towns, an Airlift Northwest base in Pasco was much needed.

“We’re here everyday of the week to serve the community and we’re very excited about that,” she said.

They’re an entity of UW Medicine with airplanes and helicopters stationed throughout Washington and Alaska.

They can also transport patients to other northwest states like Idaho, Montana and Utah.

“We’re here to get you to those specialty services, here to get you to the higher level of care for some of our major diagnosis,” Kate explained.

On Friday, Kate organized a simulation to show how important Airlift Northwest’s services are.

The Pasco Fire Department’s EMS and airport fire department showed how they complete a patient transfer from plane to ambulance.

Aries Gum, Kate’s co-worker, let his daughter Adeline be the ‘patient.’

Ben Shearer with the Pasco Fire Department said it’s critical to have services like Airlift Northwest in the Tri-Cities in case someone locally needs to be transported out of town, or, if someone needs to be flown into the area.

“Having immediate available flight services where we can get people out of Tri-Cities to more definitive care, it’s obviously a bonus for all of us here in Tri-Cities,” he said.

Kate said they don’t just transport people.

They’re able to continue care inside the airplane with procedures like IV placement, an ultrasound and ECMO machine.

“We actually carry two units of blood and two units of frozen plasma which has clotting factors in it which is really beneficial for some of our trauma patients,” she said.

Both Kate and Ben encourage anyone to sign up for a membership.

It’s $60 a year, you must have insurance, versus a hefty medical bill if you ever need their services.

“A little to a few dollars now is well worth it if you have to down the road and another way to look at that too is it just supports the services here,” Ben said.

“We bill your insurance, the rest is just forgiven with the membership so it’s really a peace of mind,” Kate added.

You can learn more about their fleet and services here.

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