REACT crew members return to work at Rockford Memorial Hospital after taking time off to grieve the loss of their co-workers in last month's crash. One pilot and 2 flight nurses were all killed.
Before the service can respond to emergencies, crews go trough training exercises.
Dan Parod, Rockford Memorial Hospital's Administrative Affairs Senior Vice President says having a helicopter operational again will mean faster response times and possibly more lives saved. But knowing this does not make the process returning to work easy for crew members, who are reminded daily of what and who they've lost
"As you can imagine it's a difficult process of getting the crew back to work and returning to service, our crew has been absolutely inspirational about their willingness and desire to get back to work," says Parod.
But before the helicopter can be fully operational, plots and staff take time to become comfortable with their new equipment.
Parod says, "Our goal is to be back in service within a couple of weeks, so by early February."
Since the crash of the REACT helicopter in December, Rockford Memorial has relied on ground transportation by ambulance for critical patients, and support from other emergency helicopter services.
"Returning REACT back to service is a good thing for all of us the whole community has felt this loss and so I think just getting them back in service is a good thing for the community," says Parod.
This helicopter is only temporary. The permanent one will arrive at the hospital in the next few months.
"We have a permanent helicopter replacement that's been located and is really being prepared with equipment and will be painted with our logo and the appropriate REACT designation," says Parod. "So we expect that'll be 1 to 2 months before we receive the permanent helicopter."