Trauma Star celebrates 20 years/continues to set records 

The Trauma Star air ambulance helicopter program is on pace to set a new record in 2022 for the number of patients airlifted as the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Monroe County Fire Rescue celebrate 20 years of the program’s existence.

Last year, Trauma Star crews flew 1,386 flights and carried 1,458 patients to Miami hospitals while also providing advanced life support to those patients and the program is on pace to exceed those numbers this year.

Trauma Star is easily one of the busiest air ambulance services in the country. For perspective, the national average for similar programs is 264 patients a year, according to the Federal Aviation Administration and the Association of Air Medical Services. The Trauma Star average is more than FIVE times that amount.

There are now three Trauma Star helicopters, which operate out of two bases: One at the Florida Keys Marathon International Airport and a second at Lower Keys Medical Center on Stock Island.

The life-saving service is provided free to residents and property owners of Monroe County and continues to operate in the black.

The Trauma Star program is a partnership between the Sheriff’s Office and Fire Rescue. The Sheriff’s Office staffs the pilots and program director while the flight nurses and flight paramedics are staffed by Fire Rescue.

“I’m very proud of the partnerships between the Sheriff’s Office, Monroe County Fire Rescue and the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners regarding this important life-saving program,” said Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay.

The Trauma Star air ambulance helicopter program began under the vision of Sheriff Rick Roth in 2002. That year, the agency acquired its first helicopter. The program grew in the years thereafter and now three aircraft serve the community with an additional base operating at Lower Keys Medical Center in Key West as well as out of the original hangar at the Florida Keys Marathon International Airport. The aircraft currently perform more than 1,000 flights a year. This premier life-saving program exists due to the vision, dedication and leadership of Sheriff Roth. Sheriff Rick Ramsay installed a plaque at the Sheriff’s Office Aviation Division Hangar in Marathon as a permanent reminder of Sheriff’s Roth vision.

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