LifeGuard Air Ambulance
Going the Distance to Save Lives
LifeGuard Air Ambulance serves the Cedar Rapids community and Eastern Iowa with around-the-clock emergency and critical care transportation for patients in Iowa and surrounding areas. Our highly experienced crews have flown thousands of flights for over 40 years. LifeGuard responds to a variety of emergency situations, including:
- Patients in rural areas
- Accident victims
- High-risk infants in need of specialized care
- Patients needing transport to distant facilities
Speed, advanced on-board medical equipment and the expertise of the crew all add up to a better chance of survival and recovery. LifeGuard Air Ambulance is staffed 24 hours a day for transport to the hospital of the patient or family's choice, or to the nearest appropriate facility.
To reach LifeGuard's dispatch, call (800) 223-6627.
LifeGuard Air Ambulance is Accredited by CAMTS
St. Luke's Hospital LifeGuard Air Ambulance recently received a three-year accreditation from the Commission on the Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS).
Patients Who Meet Trauma Alert Criteria:
- Ejection from a vehicle
- Death in same passenger compartment
- Prolonged extrication time
- Rollover of vehicle
- High-speed impact
- Significant intrusion into passenger compartment
- Vehicle/pedestrian impact
- Motorcycle crash greater than 20 mph or with separation from bike
- Falls over 20 feet
- Blunt trauma
- Penetrating injuries
- Amputations or limb-threatening injuries
- Ground transport time poses a threat to the patient's survival and/or recovery
- Patients in acute respiratory distress/compromised airway and/or need for rapid sequence intubation
- Patients requiring ventilator management
- MIs with ST Segment changes
- Patients requiring thrombolytics or cath lab intervention
- Post arrest patients
- Patients that require minimal out of hospital time
- Systolic blood pressure less than 90 mm Hg
- Stroke symptoms or other change in mental status
- Patients with two or more long-bone fractures
- Unconscious or decreasing lack of consciousness
- Patients who are in areas difficult to access by ambulance or motor vehicle
- Burn injuries
- Neurologic disorders or trauma requiring neurosurgical consult
Please fill out form below and return, either by email to: LIFEGUARD@unitypoint.org or fax to: (319) 369-8335.
- Overall length: 42 ft
- Overall height: 13 ft
- Main rotor diameter: 35 ft
- Main rotor width: 10 inches
- Main rotor blade height: 7-12 ft
- Tail rotor diameter: 5.4 ft
- Tail rotor above ground: 4.5 ft
- Maximum gross weight: 5250 lbs
- Maximum speed: 162 mph
- Jet fuel quantity: 130 gallons
- Auto Pilot
- GPS Navigation
- On Board Weather
On Board Medical Equipment includes:
- Cardiac Monitor with defibrillation, pacing, 12 Lead EKG, capnography waveform, and invasive hemodynamic monitoring
- Advanced Ventilator
- Chest Decompression
- Intraosseous Access
- Blood Products and TXA (Tranexamic Acid)
- Advanced & Surgical Airway Management including Rapid Sequential Intubation
- Night Vision Goggles
On board each LifeGuard flight are a pilot, flight nurse and flight paramedic. Special flight teams, such as the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) transport team, are also available if needed.
All medical crew members are certified in:
- Basic Life Support
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support
- Pediatric Advanced Life Support
- Neonatal Resuscitation
Additional certifications Include:
- Critical Care Paramedic (CCP)
- Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN)
- Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN)
- Certified Flight Nurse (CFRN)
- Flight Paramedic - Certified (FP-C)
Ongoing competency standards are achieved through:
- Skills Lab Training
- Simulated Patient Care Experiences
- Helicopter Safety and Landing Zone Instruction
- Quarterly and Annual Competency Training
Advanced critical care skills include:
- Drug Assisted Intubation
- Traumatic Brain Injury Management
- Cardiac Emergency Management
- Hemodynamic Monitoring
- Flight Physiology
- Ventilator Management
- Advanced Airway Management including Surgical Cricothyrotomy
- 12-lead EKG Interpretation
Safety training includes:
- Night Vision Training Scenarios
- Landing Zone and Helicopter Safety Class
- Air Medical Resource Management
- Educational programs in which Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and Contact Hours are awarded
Personnel at the scene of the emergency will select an appropriate area for LifeGuard based on the following criteria:
- Size: 100 ft x 100 ft day or night clear of fences, signs, trees, overhead wires, poles and other obstacles
- Level ground
- Clear of items that could be blown: (sheets, bags, back boards, boxes, plywood, etc.)
- As close to the scene as possible without endangering personnel
- Advise of dust, gravel or snow. Can spray down dry gravel roads to decrease dust.
- Night: Do not shine lights at the helicopter (this may temporarily blind the pilot)
- If landing area becomes unsafe, advise pilot to "Go around, landing area unsafe"
- The pilot will make final landing decision
- The following are EXTREME DANGERS when landing:
- Road signs
- Power lines
- Telephone wires
- Blowing debris in landing area
- ALWAYS approach the helicopter from the front or sides where the pilot can see you. Stay clear of the left rear tail of the helicopter. Tail rotors are turning so fast that they are nearly invisible.
- WAIT for Pilot to signal prior to approaching the aircraft.
- When helping load a patient, never approach aircraft without a LifeGuard Crew Member with you.
- Position an Emergency Responder near the aircraft to watch for people approaching and to prevent anyone from walking into the tail rotor.
- NEVER approach or leave the helicopter on the uphill side. Check the land around the helicopter because you want to avoid the main rotor!
- ALWAYS approach or leave the helicopter from the front or downhill side!
When working in or around the helicopter landing zone, be aware of the rotors and rotor down wash. Follow these safety steps AT ALL TIMES:
- Hold loose articles firmly: pillows, blankets etc. can be easily blown into the rotor.
- Never chase items that have blown away. The tail rotor is almost invisible when running and is extremely dangerous.
- Never raise IV poles around the helicopter or hold IVs over your head, even if the helicopter is not running. If the rotor dips, it may strike the IV pole.
- No running on the Landing Zone (LZ).
- Keep observers 100 feet away from the Landing Zone and out of the landing and take-off path.
- Do NOT smoke near the helicopter.
- Stay away from the rear one-third of the helicopter.
- Watch for drones and notify crew if any spotted.
- Please make sure seat belts are inside the aircraft before and after closing any doors.
- Please remove hats when near the helicopter.
• 1979: First patient transported in the LifeGuard UH-1 "Huey" helicopter. Pilot flies from airport and picks up two Area Ambulance Service Paramedics at Mercy Hospital.
• 1981: St. Luke's Hospital hires two full-time pilots with the help of the St. Luke's Foundation. Pilots work either 48 or 72 hour shifts. LifeGuard is based at St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Two Area Ambulance Service Paramedics travel to St. Luke's by ambulance to go on flights.
• 1982: First part-time pilot is hired.
• 1984: Nurses are added to the flight crew with one Paramedic from Area Ambulance. Neonate transporter is added to the capabilities with a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) Nurse and a Respiratory Therapist.
• 1985: UH-1 "Huey" helicopter is replaced with the purchase of a Long Ranger 3. Flights now include Flight Nurse and an Area Ambulance Paramedic team full time. Pilots go to 12-hour shifts with the hiring of a third and fourth pilot.
• 1990: St. Luke's Hospital hires Paramedics to staff LifeGuard with Flight Nurses.
• 1997: St. Luke's replaces the Long Ranger 3 helicopter with a Bell 407 helicopter.
• LifeGuard celebrates 25 years of being based at St. Luke's Hospital.
• 2013: St. Luke’s entered into an agreement with Med-Trans Corp. to become the new aviation partner for LifeGuard Air Ambulance.
• 2017: LifeGuard starts carrying blood on board.
About Our Aviation Partner — Med-Trans
In 2013 St. Luke's entered into an agreement with the Med-Trans Corporation to become the new aviation partner for LifeGuard Air Ambulance.
Med-Trans provides training, maintenance, pilot coverage and back-up aircraft as needed for the LifeGuard program. Med-Trans Corporation is a leading provider of air ambulance programs throughout the United States. Med-Trans offers an array of customized air medical program designs including hybrid models, community-based models or traditional hospital-based models. The company's extensive fleet rapidly delivers teams of highly trained professionals to patients, striving to provide the patient with the best possible outcome.