Life-flight organization serving county helps save lives

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, December 13, 2023

During the recent multivehicle crash on I-85 in Lanett which resulted in two death, emergency medical services were used to save the life of a crash victim. When one wreck led to another on Monday morning, two individuals were pronounced dead and one was life-flighted by a LifeSaver crew to Piedmont Columbus Regional. 

LifeSaver is an air ambulance that serves the county and surrounding areas with emergency transport. LifeSaver 3, the East Alabama and West Georgia division, has been established for around 20 years. 

In that time, LaFayette EMS Cpt. Gabe Rumfelt said the air ambulance crew has responded to many emergency calls like the one on Monday, making a huge impact on the patient outcomes in the community. 

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“The end goal, of course, is to have better patient outcomes, and so we definitely see improved patient outcomes,” Rumfelt said. “… We have quantifiable data that shows that patients have better outcome as a result of Lifesaver being around.”

Because of the long transport time in the rural parts of the county, Rumfelt said LifeSaver is often called for emergencies in which there is a chance of severe burns, trauma-related injuries or a stroke or heart attack.

“The beauty of LifeSaver is that they are strictly Emergency Medical Services/air ambulance, and they dedicate themselves completely to patient care and especially those critical patients,” Rumfelt said. “Without doubt, they save a lot of patients that would not make it without them if they were just stuck on the ground ambulance with us.”

Rumfelt said LifeSaver 3 is able to get patients to a trauma center in 20 to 40 minutes at a maximum. Their base, in Cusseta, is about 3-4 minutes away from LaFayette. According to Rumfelt, the LifeSaver crew can get a patient to Piedmont Columbus Regional in 15-20 minutes as opposed to the 75 minute drive it would take him in the ambulance truck.

“Particularly for a predominantly rural county at least close to or below the poverty line, it’s super important that we have that resource with Lifesaver and a great working relationship with those guys,” Rumfelt said. 

Rumfelt said because of the rural area and the accidents on the interstates involving semitrucks which can be particularly severe, LifeSaver is a good resource for the community. For accidents involving semitrucks or high speed wrecks, those patients are often severely injured and need blood products and medications that the city and county EMS can’t always provide.

“You’re guaranteed when you get a LifeSaver helicopter you’re gonna have a flight paramedic that’s a critical care certified paramedic, and you’re gonna get a flight nurses that’s also a critical care nurse,” Rumfelt said. “They can do some things that we can’t even do on the ground.”

Rumfelt said that LaFayette Fire and EMS officers annually train and do landing zone classes with LifeSaver 3 to continue their training. They learn how to approach the aircraft, load patients and call on the radio.