Establishing a high-quality, efficient trauma system was a top priority for the Health Care District after voters approved the District’s creation more than 20 years ago. One of the Health Care District Board’s first actions was the purchase of a Trauma Hawk helicopter to airlift critically injured patients to the designated trauma centers.
Trauma Hawk Air Ambulance
The Health Care District of Palm Beach County owns and operates two air ambulances. With a cruising speed of up to 178 miles per hour, the Sikorsky S76-C+ Trauma Hawk air ambulances save lives by ensuring that critically injured patients can quickly receive the care they need.
At more than 2,300 square miles, Palm Beach County is the largest county by area in Florida, making air transport to one of the area’s two Trauma Centers even more critical.
Safe, rapid air transport is critical in the “Golden Hour," the 60-minute window when the human body can compensate for injury. After that, the chances for recovery diminish significantly.
The Trauma Hawk flight crew is highly skilled and experienced. Crew members are medical professionals with years of training and experience in the field and in hospital critical care and trauma departments.
The air medical team includes:
- At least one commercial instrument-rated pilot
- A Florida-licensed registered nurse who also is a state-certified paramedic, and
- An additional state-certified paramedic.
- The medical team members are Palm Beach County Fire Rescue personnel.
Dedicated crew members work every day to make sure Palm Beach County residents and visitors receive the critical life-saving care they need during the “Golden Hour” following an accident. That’s the time when treatment literally makes the difference between life and death.
Inside the helicopters
Trauma Hawk helicopters are configured with state-of-the-art medical equipment to allow the experienced and highly-skilled air medical team to provide care for the patient.
Both helicopters feature:
- A rotatable stretcher system that allows for rapid loading and unloading, which can quickly be configured for two patients if necessary.
- 206 cubic feet of patient care area with seating for medical attendants and storage cabinets for necessary medical equipment and supplies.
- Medical supplies and equipment to perform advanced life support, including oxygen supply system, IV warmer, suction systems, patient monitoring devices, ventilator and infusion systems.
The helicopters and staff are stationed at a state-of-the-art hangar facility at the Palm Beach International Airport. The facility, which was developed by the Health Care District, functions as the base of operations for the Trauma Hawk program. Learn more about the Aeromedical Hangar.