WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Critical care, in the sky.

Life Net has added an additional air ambulance helicopter in the North Country. This aircraft has begun operations out of the Watertown International Airport for the base Life Net 7-14, which services the Mohawk Valley and the surrounding regions.

This expansion, according to Life Net Account Executive Bryce Rowles was made to address the skyrocketing need for emergency care in the area.

“Part of that was a reaction from COVID,” Rowles shared. “A decline in services available at local hospitals, as well as staffing struggles both in hospitals and with local EMS agencies. Our move to the Mohawk Valley is to better meet that need.”

Its aircraft is considered a flying compact intensive care unit. It is stocked with state-of-the-art medical technology, such as ICU-grade monitors, a pressure-controlled ventilator and blood units.

“That covers pretty much every patient population and every scenario,” Life Net Nurse Travis Peck explained. “Advanced training and airway management, other advanced procedures. Pretty much everything that they can do in the ER and ICU, we can do that in the aircraft.”

The Life Net base in Watertown will be staffed 24/7 with a nurse, paramedic and pilot.

This, Peck said, can make a big difference when responding to trauma calls in rural areas like the North Country and Mohawk Valley.

“We go to a lot of rural places, provide critical care to places that may not have it and get them to the specialty services that may take longer to get to by ground,” he added.

Life Net 7-14 will be working out of Watertown, its sister base Life Net 7-10 until the new base located in Oneida County is complete.

But Life Net teams said this will not stop them from saving lives.

“We’re going to follow the current response process that we have established here, which is facilitated by local 911 centers and our communication center,” Rowles explained. “Really, just having an additional asset in the region is going to make a huge difference on the availability for medical transport.”

 LifeNet’s high-caliber crew stands ready to serve when called upon by contacting emergency dispatch at 1-800-435-3822.