The helicopter previously stationed in Tyler will be upgraded and sent to ETMC-Athens.
The Eurocopter EC135 is another tool to respond to patients having heart attacks, motor vehicle accident patients and general medical emergencies in rural areas.
Jim Speier, operations coordinator, said the new helicopters will help bring faster treatment to patients and improve safety.
“This is a much larger aircraft,” Speier said. “It has a lot more bells and whistles and safety measures.”
Additional medical equipment includes a new ventilator for patients who are intubated with breathing tubes. It also can transport up to two patients at one time.
ETMC Air 1 can fly up to 158 miles per hour, compared to 135 in the older model. Each helicopter will be staffed with a pilot, nurse and paramedic.
The transport team's coverage area is a 150-mile radius, which includes 38 East Texas counties.
ETMC has had a flight program since 1985, which reduces transportation time for critically ill patients to minutes. Speier said ETMC transports about 140 patients each month, averaging nearly 1,600 flights per year.
The two new helicopters are valued at more than $9 million.