Roanoke's Flight-Guard crew ready to fly to storm-affected areas

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - Carilion Clinic is preparing to help with storm recovery in the biggest operation, of its kind, the hospital has ever seen.

Flight paramedics have joined Carilion's Life-Guard to fly at a moment's notice in any affected area. It's a multi-state operations to make at the ready 25 helicopters, five planes and 500 ambulances.

"We could get the call any minute now," said Life-Guard Director, Susan Smith. "Even while you're standing here it is quite possible that that call could come in for them to deploy."

Carilion's flight medics are ready and waiting for a call that could bring them into hurricane affected areas at a moment's notice.

"I think Roanoke is getting an opportunity to have some hometown heroes in a different way," Smith said. "We've never experienced anything like this at our level."

Carilion has partnered with other flight medic agencies to be at the ready to respond anywhere, any time. The hangar outside of the hospital is normally empty, but now holds five more helicopters.

It's putting Roanoke crews shoulder to shoulder and blade to blade with medics from Tennessee and Lousiana.

"I'm a little nervous of course and this is my first time going to a hurricane recovery effort," said Life-Guard 11 Flight Medic Robert Youther. "But you know excited I'm going to get to do down there and save some lives and make some differences in peoples' lives."

As the wind picked up in Roanoke, crews were readying their gear an getting to know their temporary partners, including Donovan Stebins,a medic with Air Evac Life Team out of Opelousas, Louisiana.

"Being able to help out in a mass situation like this, a large event, it feels great to be a part of it and have the opportunity to be a part of it as well," Stebins said.

It's an opportunity for these crews to take their skills to new heights.

"Just gets you excited to know you're gonna put your training and knowledge to work and put your hands on a patient that needs life changing skills," said Youther.