Mullin gets emergency helipad

Kevin Holamon
Bud West of the Mullin VFD accepts a windsock from Shawn Shugrue, LP, CCEMT-P of Air Evac Lifeteam, to be installed at the site of the town's new emergency helipad. Air Evac will also provide the pole for the windsock and replace the socks as needed.

With the hope it is never needed, but the sense of security that it is available, residents of Mullin have a new helipad for emergency medical response.

Comanche Electric Cooperative Association and Central Texas Telephone Cooperative joined forces and resources to provide the helipad in Mullin, serving the larger surrounding rural area, including southeastern Brown and northwestern Mills Counties.

CTTC provided the land, located between their facility and the Mullin Volunteer Fire Department, and CECA donated the funds for the helipad.

On June 9th, a dedication ceremony was held at the site, including the first landing of an Air Evac Lifeteam air ambulance. Members of the VFD, Mills County EMS, Air Evac, and the public were on hand for the dedication.

Time is an important factor in getting treatment to certain patients, particularly those suffering a stroke or heart attack, medics have long held. A study reported by the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates a 16 percent greater chance of survival for those patients transported to a Level I trauma center by air, than by ground. For a Level II trauma center, the chance of survival is improved by 15 percent.

The study also notes "trauma remains the leading cause of death and disability among young people." Treatment of trauma patients has improved dramatically in recent years, and, coupled with rapid transport, survivability has improved as well.

Bobby Brinson, Program Director for Air Evac Lifeteam, said the helipad is a tremendous benefit to them and an asset to the community.

"It's secure and surrounded by fence," he said, "making it easier to land safely."

The fence requires fewer ground personnel to clear the landing site.

Brinson said the site may be used for medical and trauma patients.

"It has already been utilized once," he added.

Brinson said rural sites also provide a safe place for ground EMS services to rendezvous with the air ambulance, when a patient's condition deteriorates during transport, making a more rapid air transport suddenly necessary. 

The GPS coordinates for the pad have already been entered in Air Evac's system, making it easier for pilots from outside stations to locate.

"This proves that CECA and CTTC are true community partners," Brinson said.