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These days, you can summon a ride anywhere with a simple tap on your phone and then watch as your Lyft or Uber approaches.

Now, first responders and hospital emergency staff caring for critically ill or injured patients can do the same with Airlift Northwest’s new phone and desktop app. A tap or a click on the “Flight Call” button sends a helicopter to the scene of an accident or a plane to transport a patient from one healthcare facility to another for a higher or more appropriate level of care.

“Time is of the essence with critical patients like these,” says Chris Martin, Airlift Northwest executive director. “The app allows requesters to track the helicopter or plane in real time as it progresses, enabling them to stabilize patients and prepare them for transport as soon as the aircraft arrives. No time is wasted.” Because requesters don’t have to keep calling the Communication Center for a flight status, explains Martin, it saves time for dispatchers, too, and frees them up to take other calls.

The app has a built-in mapping feature that automatically calculates the GPS coordinates (longitude and latitude) of the requester’s location. Dispatchers can immediately pinpoint the destination and avoid any confusion as they try to determine a landing zone location. Martin says this is especially valuable in more rural areas like Eastern Washington, where first responders out in the field have large areas to cover, often without many landmarks.

The app works just as well for hospital personnel, who can download it to a desktop computer (, where it can be ready for flight requests at the click of a mouse.

Airlift Northwest responds from seven bases strategically located throughout the Pacific Northwest and Southeast Alaska, including Bellingham, Arlington, Bremerton, Seattle, Olympia, Yakima and Juneau, Alaska.

Airlift Northwest has also incorporated educational materials into the app, including a guide on how to create a helicopter landing zone, information on treating a variety of conditions, and a calendar of upcoming training events and opportunities, among others.

Martin says early feedback from users has been positive. “We’re really excited about the Airlift Northwest app,” she says. “We’ve always strived to be the best possible partner to first responders and hospital staff as we work together to save lives. We believe this app gives us the chance to provide an even greater level of service and convenience and, hopefully, make their lives a bit easier.”


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