Miami-Dade (FL) Fire Rescue’s (MDFR) Air Rescue Unit celebrated 30 years of service on Thursday, October 1, 2015.
Since its inception on October 1, 1985, MDFR has provided air transport for critically ill and injured residents and visitors of Miami-Dade County. Responding to approximately 1,200 calls a year, this unique unit has grown from one full-time helicopter to four in the past nine years. Air Rescue South is located at Miami Executive Airport and Air Rescue North is located at Opa-Locka Executive Airport. Each aircraft is staffed by two pilots and two firefighter-paramedics 365 day a year, including MDFR’s first female pilot who joined the crew in 2013.
With over 2,000 square miles to cover, MDFR’s Air Rescue fleet ensures that severely injured patients receive rapid lifesaving treatment at one of the four trauma centers in Miami-Dade County. While 80% of the call volume is EMS related, air rescue crews also perform special operations such as search and rescue, scuba diver deployments, wildland fire suppression, and hoist operations. They also provide mutual aide to all five of MDFR’s neighboring fire departments.