Aviation Division

Monroe County's Trauma-Star helicopter

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Trauma Star Video

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The Sheriff's Aviation Division consists of seven pilots and three mechanics.  The aircraft currently include a Sikorsky S-76 medical transport helicopter and a King Air B200 airplane.  The hangar they are kept in is located on the northern end of the airport in Marathon.
The King Air, a military surplus aircraft obtained by the Sheriff's Office in the mid 1990s for $500.00, provides service for high profile prisoner transports and for the transport of county employees traveling for business.  
The medical transport helicopter - called Trauma Star - received final approval from the FAA in November of 2006 and now has a Part 135 license granting the operation commercial status. This allows the County to bill for Trauma Star's services, which will off set the cost of the program to county taxpayers.. In addition to trauma flights, the helicopter is also be available for inter-facility transports as needed. The program involves a co-operative agreement between the Sheriff's Office, Monroe County Fire/Rescue, County Commissioners, County Administrator, and our three local hospitals so that the best efforts of each is brought forward to provide a  life saving service.

Air Ambulance Operations

The Monroe County Trauma Star helicopter is based in Marathon and is staffed around the clock to be ready for launch at a moment's notice. County firefighters and Emergency Medical Services personnel have undergone extensive training to ensure they are ready to assist the helicopter when it needs to land at or near an accident scene.

The current Trauma Star helicopter is a 1982 Sikorsky S-76A++ was purchased by the Board of County Commissioners from Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania for $3.7 million dollars. It has twin Jet turbine engines and will travel at 175 miles per hour. It is configured to carry up to two pilots, two patients and four caregivers.

The original Trauma Star was a UH-1 "Huey" helicopter. It was originally built in 1968 and served as a military aircraft until it was retired from that service in 1996. It was purchased by the Monroe County Sheriff's Office in February of 2000 from Marion County for $326,000, using the proceeds from drug trafficking cases.the craft was completely outfitted for trauma service through a Florida EMS matching grant obtained by Monroe County Emergency Medical Services in the amount of $81,500.00.

Trauma Star

Trauma Star can pick up patients at or near the scene of an accident or other trauma event and transport them directly to whatever hospital or trauma center is deemed necessary depending on the injuries involved. This service saves essential treatment time by avoiding slower ground transport. Ground transport to local hospitals was the only transportation method available prior to this time except in the upper Keys, where some air transport service was available. The only air transport from the middle and lower Keys prior to this was transport from local hospitals after initial treatment was provided there.

Trauma Star has been providing trauma transport since 2002. The helicopter is housed at the Sheriff's aviation hangar in Marathon, operated by Sheriff's Office pilots and carries paramedics from Monroe County Fire Rescue.