Helipad Expected to Boost Safety, Access for Rural Medical Transport

A helicopter landing pad has been added to the north side of the East Central Community College campus.

Officials say the addition will have a huge impact on residents of the area, because it makes helicopter transport for emergencies easier and safer.

"This pad, we know, has been secured and safe," said Sam Marshall of Air Care Transport. "It provides a rendezvous point when we have critically injured patients. Allows us to bring a critical care team to a rural area in Mississippi and then quickly transport them to a trauma center or hospital that is able to take care of that type of patient."

Air Care Transport says it has no more than five of these type landing spots in rural parts of the state.

"It lets the medical personnel know where they're going," said Decatur Mayor Randy Rushing. "They already have a dedicated place to land. And those are crucial minutes that may be the factor in someone's life being saved."

"Community colleges sometimes are the only game in town to provide certain services. And we have a place, flat, easily accessible to have the helipad, so that the pilots can know exactly where they're coming and be safe in getting here," said ECCC president, Dr. Phil Sutphin.

Officials say members of the Newton County community approached Air Care with the idea of placing the pad, and building it where and how it could best be used.

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