A.L.E.R.T. Mission, Vision and Values
Our primary mission is to provide outstanding critical care and emergency rescue services for the people of northwestern Montana. Our goal is to provide safe, compassionate and expedient care for every patient, every time.
Our program began in 1975 as a nonprofit hospital-based service to meet the needs of the hardworking people of northwestern Montana. Continuing this legacy, we have a vision for growth and industry leadership as the premier medical flight service in Montana.
- Safety Conscious – Our expectation is that all members of the team contribute to keeping our patients and crews safe in the air and on the ground. Program transparency is a key component of our safety program.
- Professional Demeanor – We pursue excellence in our field and provide opportunities that support the professional development of the individual and of the team. We encourage and maintain a positive “can-do” attitude in all of our endeavors.
- Compassionate Integrity – We recognize the uniqueness and dignity of all persons. We communicate openly, honestly and respectfully with all people. We develop the talents and abilities of one another.
- Responsible Stewardship – As a nonprofit service, we are committed to remaining accessible to the people we serve regardless of their ability to pay. We strive to operate our service wisely for the good of all people and resources. We continually seek opportunities to improve the quality of our service.
Today A.L.E.R.T. has the crew, equipment and capability to respond to a diverse range of missions, including:
- Calls to the scene of emergencies in the field, from roadside to mountainside
- Transportation of critically ill patients to specialized facilities in Spokane and Seattle, Washington; Denver, Colorado; Palo Alto, California; Salt Lake City, Utah; Rochester, Minnesota; and elsewhere
- Care of patients needing specialized care, including high-risk obstetrics, critically ill infants, complex cardiac and neurological patients, and trauma patients
- Search and rescue assistance, including water rescue, avalanche search and night vision
A Bell 407 helicopter with pilot, nurse and medic, A.L.E.R.T. I has a 350 mile range and transports approximately 345 patients per year. It serves areas in Montana from Cut Bank to Libby and Eureka to Ronan and beyond.
For more than three decades, A.L.E.R.T. has provided crucial advanced life support and critical care transport to remote communities of northwest Montana.
A.L.E.R.T. II is a Pilatus PC-12 turboprop air ambulance. Typical missions include flights from smaller Montana towns (Libby, Cut Bank, Havre, Great Falls and Browning) to bring patients to Kalispell Regional Medical Center. Other flights include transporting patients to specialized care facilities in Denver, Colorado; Seattle, Washington; Palo Alto, California; Portland, Oregon; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Rochester, Minnesota. We can operate out of most of the smaller airports in Montana, which are accessible for local patients. We usually fly at 290 mph, making the flight time to Seattle, Washington, about one hour 35 minutes.
All of our pilots are Airline Transport rated, which is the highest level of certificate granted by the Federal Aviation Administration. The medical crew consists of a critical care trained registered nurse and paramedic, or a specially trained neonatal or obstetrics nurse. In addition to the flight and medical crew, and patient, A.L.E.R.T. II can also commonly transport a single family member with the patient.
A.L.E.R.T. III is Kalispell Regional Medical Center's ground ambulance service. The ambulance was designed to support A.L.E.R.T. II, Kalispell Regional Medical Center's fixed wing air ambulance service, and to transport patients from the hospital to Pathways Treatment Center. A.L.E.R.T. III does not respond to emergencies in the community at large because those areas are serviced by our local fire and ambulance services, but it could be made available to support a local emergency if requested as a matter of mutual aid.
A.L.E.R.T. III is licensed by the State of Montana to respond at a basic life support level with the capacity to respond at an advanced life support level when needed. A.L.E.R.T. III staff members receive training in its operation and all of its drivers have attended an Emergency Vehicle Operators Course. The A.L.E.R.T. III ambulance is expected to transport in excess of 400 patients each year.
A.L.E.R.T. Advisory Board
A.L.E.R.T. began to face financial difficulties in 1978, and the local community responded by forming the A.L.E.R.T. Advisory Board. Composed of community members from businesses, primary rescue, logging, park and forest representatives, the group established a widespread effort to build community financial support, including an inaugural A.L.E.R.T. fundraising banquet. The A.L.E.R.T. board continues to organize the annual banquet and serves as champions for the air ambulance service.
More than four decades ago, a logger working in a remote area was seriously injured. A private helicopter bravely rescued the young man, but no medical crew was available to assist. The patient, transported in an outside basket, patterned after the kind used during the Korean War, could not be treated during flight, and unfortunately died. Shaken and heartbroken, his employer and other loggers rallied the medical community to establish an air ambulance service and reduce future fatalities in the field.
At that time, in 1975, there was only one hospital-based helicopter advanced life support system, St. Anthony Hospital’s Flight for Life out of Denver. The originators of the Kalispell program used Flight for Life and Seattle’s Medic One, the premier ground advanced life support system in the United States, as their examples to mold Kalispell's program into a unique model in America.