Fayette County Sheriff’s Office Implementing “Auto Launch” Program

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office is starting a new program to better serve its residents.

It’s called “Auto Launch” and it dispatches air medical service when an initial 911/notification call comes in. But it’s not dispatched for every call – it’s based on call information that indicates someone needs to be transferred to a high-level emergency or specialty resource center. Some of those situations would include a stroke, witnessed cardiac arrest, ejection from a vehicle in a motor vehicle accident or major burns.

Gundersen AIR approached the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office with the Auto Launch program – they have several other effective Auto Launch programs running in other states. Gundersen AIR has recently added a helicopter base in Decorah, making flight time from Decorah to Fayette County only about 10 to 15 minutes, which makes Fayette County an optimal choice for the program to be implemented.

Auto Launch does not change how decisions are made by the ground ambulance service – if the ground ambulance arrives and determines the helicopter is not necessary, the helicopter is simply disregarded. Auto Launch gives the helicopter service a head start in completing their pre-flight checklist, which on average takes 12 to 14 minutes to complete. This gets the helicopter in the air faster, and therefore the patient to care sooner.

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office says since the Auto Launch program was implemented, it has been successfully initiated several times.


photo courtesy of Fayette County Sheriff’s Office