History and Qualifications

​Our History

​​​When a house fire in Alaska claimed the lives of three children before they could reach the right type of care, a determined UW physician had a world-changing idea: If patients are losing their lives because they can’t access proper care in time, why not fly proper care to the patients?

Thus Airlift Northwest, the region’s first flying intensive care unit, was born here at UW Medicine. Years later, it still defines how care is delivered in the air and keeps the region within a short flight of the health care they need.

It was a revolutionary idea resulting from a medical culture driven to find innovative ways of delivering the highest standard of patient care, even if it takes flying there.

Our Qualifications


Airlift Northwest was the region’s first flying intensive care unit. We fly with two highly skilled nurses with current certifications in:
  • Advanced cardiac life support
  • Pediatric advanced life support
  • Trauma nursing core course
  • Neonatal resuscitation program
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) 
Each team also has flight nurses with one of the following certifications:
  • Critical care nursing (CCRN) 
  • Emergency nursing (CEN) 
  • Flight nursing (CFRN) 
  • Specialty (RNC)

Accreditation

Airlift Northwest has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Services, or CAMTS, since 1997. Airlift Northwest was the first air medical service in Southeast Alaska to receive this recognition. Accreditation means a medical transport service meets a series of industry standards that address issues of patient care and safety.


All aviation services, pilots and mechanics are provided by Air Methods Corporation and Aero Air.