Jersey Cops Mark Safety Milestone
The New Jersey State Police (NJSP) aviation unit this spring reached a milestone of successfully flying 25,000 accident-free medevac flights since the program began in 1969. The current NJSP fleet includes four Sikorsky S-76B aeromedical critical-care configured helicopters, which in 2002 transported 1,400 patients, conducted 70 search-and-rescue flights and performed 60 first-responder educational demonstration sessions. The statewide operation began in 1988, when the New Jersey legislature created the JemStar (Jersey Emergency Medical Shock Trauma Air Rescue) program, mandating that the NJSP aviation unit provide a 24-hour dedicated air ambulance service. Today, there are two S-76B helicopters in constant air ambulance operation. One S-76B is based at University Hospital in Newark (NorthStar) and another is based at West Jersey Hospital System, Voorhees (SouthStar). Two additional S-76Bs are used as backup aircraft when the primary aircraft are undergoing routine maintenance. Since the program’s inception, the unit’s helicopter fleet has flown 25,000 air ambulance flights, accumulated more than 18,000 flight hours and performed 100,000 takeoffs and landings. Each JemStar aircraft is staffed with two pilots, a critical-care flight nurse and critical-care flight paramedic or with dual flight-nurse teams. Most patients are flown directly from the scene of the accident to the trauma center, while NorthStar and SouthStar also fly inter-hospital ICU-to-ICU patient missions.