The Brain and Spine Institute is made up of experts in the field of neuroscience in order to bring patients the best healthcare in East Tennessee for a full range of neurological diseases and disorders.
UT LIFESTAR added another resource to its commitment to the safety of its program and the patients it serves throughout East Tennessee. UT LIFESTAR became the first civilian aeromedical program in the state of Tennessee to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to use night vision goggles (NVG).
The FAA certification and the acquisition by LIFESTAR of six ITT Pinnacle 4949 Generation 4 technology night vision goggles is expected to be a major safety benefit for flight crews and aircraft, providers on the ground and patients. At $10,000 per set, the night vision goggles will allow pilots to fly LIFESTAR helicopters to areas previously deemed “off limits,” while increasing the safety of all people and aircraft involved.
“The night vision goggles are simply amazing,” said Jeffery Gregory, director of aeromedical services for LIFESTAR. “This is the same technology used by members of our military. As soon as our flight crews put on the goggles, their ability to see their surroundings and spot potential obstacles is dramatically increased. It really is the difference between night and day.”
The enhanced visibility is expected to enable LIFESTAR to do the following.
A U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Domestic Preparedness grant for $170,600 covered the cost of the goggles, accompanying cockpit modifications on the aircraft and ground school to train LIFESTAR crews on the NVG equipment. Hamblen County Mayor David Purkey, chairman of the District II State Homeland Security Council, was instrumental in securing the grant that purchased the NVG package from Aviation Specialties Unlimited Inc., Boise, Idaho, which included the goggles, aircraft modifications and associated training.
“I cannot tell you how thankful we are for the efforts of Mayor Purkey and Morristown/Hamblen County Emergency Management Agency Director Eric Carpenter,” Gregory said. “Safety for our patients and our crew is always a top priority of LIFESTAR, and we believe the night vision goggle technology will help us toward that goal.”
For more information about the night vision goggle program, call Andrew Slemp at 865.305.6965.