Sonoma County, CA, Fire District and REACH Air Medical Services Announce New Partnership


Partnership Will Bring Fire Reconnaissance & Fire Suppression, Search & Rescue, Advanced Life Support Air Medical Capabilities  
Sonoma County (Calif.) Fire District, in partnership with REACH Air Medical Services, announced today that it is expanding its capabilities to enhance its delivery of Advanced Life Support medical services and to further combat the threat of wildfire in the North Bay. The new public-private agreement is for the staffing and operation of one public safety helicopter, an Airbus H-135, which will enable the fire district to deliver aerial fire reconnaissance and fire suppression, search and rescue, and ICU-level air medical transport capabilities to Sonoma County and the surrounding areas.

”The Sonoma County Fire District’s mission is to compassionately care for the safety of our communities and our visitors through progressive professional emergency preparedness and response”, said Mark Heine, Fire Chief for the Sonoma County Fire District. “Our partnership with REACH Air Medical Services brings together two strong organizations committed to enhancing the delivery of emergency medical services, rescue services, and critical aerial firefighting services to enhance the safety of our communities from the threat of wildfires in Sonoma County”.

“Dr. John L. McDonald founded REACH in Santa Rosa in 1987 because he believed that an air ambulance presence in Sonoma County would greatly benefit the community,” said Sean Russel, Pacific Region President for REACH parent company, Global Medical Response. “Now 34 years later, his work is being transformed into something even greater - a partnership that will deliver life-saving ICU-level care, improve public safety and protect both property and the environment. We are incredibly pleased to be partnering with the Sonoma County Fire District to deliver these services to a community that we have proudly served for more than three decades.”

The new joint operation, which is set to go live in early 2022, will be strategically stationed at the Sonoma County Airport. The aircraft will be operated by REACH’s highly trained and experienced pilots, flight nurses and flight paramedics and maintained by their on-site aviation maintenance technicians. The Fire District will provide administrative support and fire training and will lead the integration of the aircraft into current fire district operations county-wide.

The aircraft will be branded Sonoma County Fire District and will come equipped with forward-looking infrared technology, a light-weight firefighting bucket, ICU-level medical equipment, and advanced avionics and safety features. The Airbus H-135 is a lightweight, twin-engine aircraft designed to operate in high altitude and hot conditions. Its smaller size makes it versatile for aerial firefighting, search and rescue and air medical operations.