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ShandsCair Continues Expansion Opening New Base in Panama City

ShandsCair Bell 407

ShandsCair continues the expansion of its Florida based HEMS program, opening new base in the Florida panhandle.

ShandsCair, a University of Florida Health HEMS program based at UF Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida continued its rapid expansion in the south with the April 25, 2017 launch of the programs fourth base, becoming the first HEMS aircraft to be located in Bay County, Florida, stationed at Bay Medical Sacred Heart Hospital. Sacred Heart is the Florida Panhandle’s only level two trauma center.

With the opening of the new Sacred Heart base, ShandsCair continues their ongoing relationship with Missouri based Med-Trans Corporation. The new program will be operated using a float equipped Bell 407 due to its coastal location and frequent water transition during flight operations in the area.

The helicopter will provide helicopter air medical services to the Florida panhandle, expanding the reach of the ShandsCair program from four to five bases, taking the Bell 407 initially operated by ShandsCair 4 based in Perry, Florida after it was replaced with an Airbus H135. The program will begin operations temporarily stationed at the Bay County Emergency Operations Center until a purpose built facility is constructed that will be located permanently on the campus of Gulf Coast State College nearby.

According to hospital officials, the hope is for the partnership to grow to service not only Florida but other nearby states in the future. The new program’s Bell 407 GX will have a response radius of 75 nautical miles, and 240-nautical-mile hospital transfer range that allows ShandsCair to respond for patient transfer missions in Florida, south Georgia and southern Alabama.

ShandsCair recently celebrated their 35th anniversary of providing emergency medical care by way of road ambulances that respond via 911 dispatch in the Gainesville, Florida area that later expanded to provide critical care transportation by air using fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. ShandsCair’s five helicopter bases fly a mix of aircraft that include an Airbus H155 owned by the hospital that is one of only two HEMS operations currently using the H155 in HEMS configuration, along with the Airbus H135 and Bell 407s supplied by MedTrans. ShandsCair helicopters typically respond to scene calls within a 75-mile radius.

ShandsCair now operates HEMS bases in Gainesville, Summerfield, Perry, and now Panama City, Florida.

Click here to watch a video on the arrival of the new helicopter program from local Florida news WJHG

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Ryan Mason, Publisher & Editor in Chief
Ryan Mason, Publisher & Editor in Chief

Ryan Mason is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of Collective Magazine. Ryan has worked in the aviation industry for the last nine years working for multiple international aviation publications. Ryan has also written for law enforcement publications drawing on his years of experience as a police officer in the Midwest United States. You can reach Ryan at

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