AUSTIN (KXAN) — The only 24/7 aerial emergency medical service in Texas will soon be expanding, after the Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously approved plans to construct a STAR Flight facility in Blanco County.
According to Blanco County judge Brett Bray, the nearly $2 million facility will be funded by local taxpayers.
“Blanco County is touched by seven other counties all of them are larger than us,” he said. “This is going to benefit all of them as well as us.”
This new helicopter hanger will assist patients in western Travis County along with the eastern parts of Blanco, Burnet, and Llano Counties.
“Gives us an opportunity to have an aircraft space not together but in two different locations,” STAR Flight director Chuck Spangler said. “Where one might not be able to respond to a victim, another one would be able to.”
The facility will include a helicopter hanger, crew quarters and an office space.
Instead of flying in from Austin, the new space will speed up the valuable time to transport people to hospitals.
“It’s always a race against time,” Llano County Emergency Management coordinator Gilbert Bennett said.
Each month, Llano County averages around six calls to STAR Flight, so its emergency officials see this new hanger as a big benefit.
“The sooner we can access the patient at a trauma scene and get them to the trauma center, the better off their chances of survival,” Bennett said.
It will also help the Hill Country fight fires since STAR Flight is also often called to help with water drops.
“Because we have a lot of rural areas out there with a lot of risky areas for fires, it’s a magnificent tool,” Bray said.
As Central Texas grows, so too does the need to save more lives.
“This is a beautiful example of sharing resources and assets to meet the needs of the people,” Travis County Commissioner Ann Howard said.
The new STAR Flight facility could be complete as soon as the summer of 2023.