Every March, Daytona Beach Bike Week attracts more than 100,000 motorcyclists ready to ride along the beautiful Florida coast. This year, one unfortunate biker experienced a nearly-fatal accident while taking a turn into the Volusia County roadside. Luckily, the Volusia County Sherriff’s Office Bell 407 was already in the air and on the scene in minutes. Pilot Dean Balmforth and flight paramedic John Oldham delivered the patient to Halifax Health Medical Center and added another successful medevac mission to their history.
With swamps, wetlands and a population of more than 550,000 residents, keeping Volusia County, Florida safe and connected to resources is a full-time mission that requires airborne support. Which is why the airborne unit owns and operates three Bell 407s. “There’s a critical need because we are such a large county,” Capt. Erik Eagan said. “In order to get to that golden hour and get you to the hospital for emergency treatment, we really need this resource. There’s a huge benefit to having this resource also for law enforcement, being able to follow fleeing vehicles. . . . It’s just an awesome tool that we use.”
An ideal platform for helicopter emergency medical services and law enforcement support, the Bell 407 is known for its reliability and consistency. "The 407 is an excellent aircraft,” said Chief Pilot, Greg Brooks. “They’re very forgiving aircraft. They’re very durable.” This law enforcement team manages to keep at least one Bell 407 ready to go at all times. “It’s extremely rare that we do not have an aircraft available,” said Brooks. “I can probably count on one hand over the last 25 years where that’s happened.”
Whether reaching kayakers stuck in swamp to providing medical support to neighboring counties, the Volusia County Sherriff’s Office has a Bell 407 ready to get the job done.
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The aircraft are scheduled to be progressively delivered from late 2022 and will be used for tourism charter and utility flights in North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef region.