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Trooper 5 relocating to Garrett airport during peak demand periods

43 percent of helicopter’s July missions were in county

From Staff Reports Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — Maryland State Police medevac helicopter Trooper 5, based at the Greater Cumberland Regional Airport, will temporarily relocate to the Garrett County Airport “during hours of peak mission demand,” according to Maj. Mark Gibbons, commander of the Maryland State Police Aviation Command.

The state police helicopter will temporarily relocate to the Garrett County Airport near McHenry beginning today during specified times when there is a larger potential for service due to increased activities within the county. The “dynamic deployment” will continue throughout the fall season, according to Gibbons.

State police helicopter crews in Cumberland have already conducted coordinated training with Western Maryland EMS providers in anticipation of the temporary relocation to Garrett County.

In the month of July, 43 percent of the missions handled by Trooper 5 were from Garrett County.

Seasonal changes in population and trends for requests for service indicate that a temporary relocation of specific aircraft may provide a more efficient service.

Historically, the hours between noon and 9 p.m. have been the periods the helicopter has been dispatched to emergency calls in the Garrett County region. The dynamic deployment program has been used in other locations where information indicates a surge in activity when state police aviation service may benefit first-responders and citizens in that area.

“Since opening the Cumberland section in 1978, we have had great relationships with and cooperation from all fire, EMS and law enforcement personnel, as well as elected officials in Western Maryland in supporting our service,” said Gibbons.

“The Garrett County Airport provides a location and airport support that will greatly increase the effectiveness of our helicopter crews as they perform their lifesaving missions in that region during peak periods of service. Trooper 5 will continue to have prompt response to calls for service for the entire Western Maryland and Appalachian Highlands region.”

Lt. Walter Kerr, state police aviation command helicopter operations, said Trooper 5 will be situated in the Garrett County Airport’s flight line rather than a hangar at the airport.

“The airport is providing temporary office space and we will be utilizing thier computers and weather instruments just like other pilots that come into the airport. We will also have our own computers,” said Kerr.

The temporary relocation from Cumberland to Garrett County was about two weeks in the planning. “Sgt. (Donald) Lehman in the aviation section at Cumberland did an excellent job putting this together and allowing us to launch it in time for the Labor Day weekend,” said Kerr.

Capt. James Pyles, Western Troop commander, said, “The process of this dynamic deployment is data-driven to better serve the citizens of our great state and the surrounding area. The crews of Trooper 5 are to be commended for their proactive approach to increase access to life-saving resources and to provide their invaluable resource on our fight on crime.

“The Aviation Command consists of an excellent group of men and women with whom I am honored to work beside daily. They are committed to upholding the high standards of the department. Whether you live in Maryland, are visiting here, or are just traveling through, every member of the Aviation Command and the Maryland State Police are committed to serving and protecting you.”

The Maryland State Police Aviation Command is an essential component of the Statewide Trauma and Emergency Medical Services System. The MSPAC works closely with the members of all Maryland first-response organizations as part of the state’s world-renowned, integrated emergency medical services system.

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