The rural and remote nature of Orcas Island is one of its most charming and coveted aspects: the flora and fauna are plentiful, privacy is easy to find, and residents can feel comforted by the ferry ride’s distance from the mainland. At the cost of idyllic seclusion, Orcas residents do not have access to on-island emergency care. Fortunately, residents do have access to three low-cost Aeromedical Services, all equipped to safely transport patients suffering from medical emergencies to the proper healthcare facilities via helicopter or plane. In order to safely enjoy the unparalleled lifestyle of Orcas Island, it is vital to remain prepared and educated on island medical practices.
Orcas Island Fire & Rescue references three commercial Air Medical Evacuation companies serving our community: Airlift Northwest (ALNW), Island Air Ambulance (IAA) and Life Flight Network, all provide reliable emergency service and qualified medical personnel.
Airlift Northwest is a program of the University of Washington School of Medicine and Harborview Medical Center, providing critical Medevac service for over 38 years. The program provides emergency flight transportation for residents in Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska for a membership starting at $60 a year, protecting all members of a household.
Island Air Ambulance is a local critical care air ambulance service based in Friday Harbor, serving all of San Juan County and its surrounding regions. Its fixed wing medevac program is a national award winner and CAMTS accredited. Island Air offers a membership starting at $39 a year, including all household members.
Life Flight Network prides itself on a reputation of safety, reliability, and exceptional clinical care, safely transporting over 1500 patients every month throughout Washington, Montana, Idaho and Oregon. Voted the 2021 program of the year by AAMS, this program starts at $69 per year for all household members.
While all three companies are certified to the same level of care, Orcas Island Fire & Rescue recommends that island residents subscribe to all three memberships for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, the adverse and unpredictable nature of island weather often dictates which Medevac provider is physically able to both land and transport their aircraft. Secondly, there may be times when certain aircrafts are unavailable when transporting other patients and you require an immediate medical response.
The Aeromedical Services offered to Orcas Island residents provide 24/7/365 emergency medical transportation, always available and at the ready. Visit Orcas Island Fire & Rescue for more details and membership options. Medevac services allow island residents to thoroughly enjoy their remote lifestyle with safety and comfort. To find out more about Orcas Island and our extensive resources, visit our website.