The recent death of a Chattooga County teenager prompted some questions about emergency helicopter service in the county.   

Some people erroneously believe that Life Force is only allowed to land in certain places in the county.   Chattooga County EMS Director Herbert Dodd told AM 1180 that this is false. 

Life Force can land anywhere in Chattooga County.  However, Dodd stated that if there is no extraction from a vehicle, Chattooga EMS will take the victim to one of three dedicated landing areas in the county. 

Dodd said that need for dedicated landing areas became clear when Life Force landed at a residence in Chattooga County and a lady ran towards the helicopter almost having her head cut off by the rear rotor.  Working with Life Force, Dodd came up with the three staging areas in the county that can easily have security provided by local law enforcement and fire departments. 

The three areas are: the Trion Track Field, EMS Headquarters off of Stockade Road and Hays State Prison. Dodd made clear that Life Force can and would land anywhere in the county where rescue workers have to spend time extracting a victim from a wreck scene.  However, it saves time and provides a more secure environment if EMS workers take an accident victim to one of the landing areas instead of waiting on the helicopter to get to the accident scene. 

According to Life Force they require a 100 x 100’ landing area during the day and 125’ x 125’ landing area during the night to land a the scene of an accident or emergency. 

In another recent accident situation, the wreck on Highway 337 where a young woman was thrown from the sun-roof of her car, Dodd made the decision to carry the patient to Erlanger Medical Center because Life Force did not have a helicopter available at the time.  Dodd said that it was quicker to take the patient to Chattanooga than to wait on a helicopter from Atlanta. 

Life Force operates three helicopters one of which was recently damaged by a duck flying into the windshield; bring the service down to only two until a new windshield can be installed.  The service area for Life Force extends from above Cookeville Tennessee to below Piedmont, Alabama and all the way to Dahlonaga, Georgia.