Survival Flight

Survival Flight


Survival Flight lands new home - as seen in the Daily Press & Argus

Survival Flight, the University of Michigan Health System's air medical transportation service, started operating from a station at the Livingston County Airport.

The helicopters are staffed with flight nurses, and they have advanced medical technology on board.

Krista Hopson, spokesperson for Survival Flight, said Livingston County's growing population made it impossible not to notice a need for the service. From 1990 to 1999, the county led Michigan in rate of population growth.

The service will transport patients where they need to go to ensure they receive the best care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Denise Landis began as a nurse for Survival Flight in 1984 and has since moved up to manager of critical care transport. She said the flight service's first transport on Monday took only three minutes instead of the typical 15 to 20.

Landis said she believes the service has the best care and staff to handle an emergency situation.

The 20-year-old Survival Flight is a mobile trauma center and intensive care unit. The helicopters also have up-to-date navigational equipment allowing them to fly in all types of weather. The 1,400-horsepower machines have an average speed of 150 mph.

Saint Joseph Mercy Health System spokeswoman Leisa Golden said Saint Joseph works with Ypsilanti-based Midwest Medflight, a 17-year-old helicopter medical service.

Ten minutes at 150 m.p.h. – that’s how fast Livingston County residents can now count on getting to one of the best hospitals in the country in an emergency medical situation via one of the top air ambulance programs in the nation.

With new satellite base, Livingston Co. patients have even faster access to emergency medical transportation and care at U-M, other area hospitals.

"It just provides another option for residents," Golden said. "If our helicopter is tied up on a call, then there is a second one available. It's just another service for patients."

But Landis said the service can do more because of the many specialty flights it is involved in and the amount of pediatric care it can perform. She said most of the other flights just do trauma and cardiac care.

Regardless of how Survival Flight will change emergency medical service in Livingston County, police say it is a welcome addition.

"I think that is a great idea," said Lt. Mike Murphy of the Livingston County Sheriff's Department. "One of the problems we have is transportation, and typically we would have to call Medflight or Survival Flight. For a trauma or something like that, response time is critical."

To learn more about Survival Flight, visit