Berkeley County unveils new heliport on Daniel Island

June 24, 2024

Located seven minutes or less from area hospitals

Berkeley County Government has opened a new designated heliport on Daniel Island, located near the off-ramp from I-526 and Seven Farms Drive. This heliport is critical for airlifting patients experiencing a medical emergency, such as a stroke or other trauma event. This is especially necessary during high traffic congestion or a shutdown of the Wando or Don Holt Bridges, which could slow or even prevent a typical ambulatory response to or from an emergency site. The heliport is located within seven minutes or less (flight time) from all area hospitals, including:

  • 7 minutes from Trident Medical Center in North Charleston
  • 4 minutes to downtown Charleston’s MUSC Trauma Center, MUSC Children’s Hospital, and Roper Hospital
  • 3 minutes from Roper Hospital in Mt. Pleasant
  • 2 minutes from East Cooper Medical in Mt. Pleasant

The heliport will be utilized by Meducare’s dual-engine EC-145 helicopter, considered one of the biggest helicopters in civilian helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS). The aircraft size allows the Meducare team to transport multiple patients and specialty equipment as needed. Meducare teams are staffed 24/7 with critical care teams specializing in care for all ages, from neonatal and pediatric patients to adult patients.

Total cost of the heliport project was $55,480. Funds stemmed from Berkeley County’s Economic Development fund ($50,000) and Accommodations Fee fund ($5,480). The project was initiated by District 2 Councilman Josh Whitley after several bridge closure incidents and concerns from citizens about response times in light of the closures. On Council, Whitley has focused on improving EMS response throughout the County. County Council has also allocated funding for two additional helipads in the County and will work with emergency responders to determine the future locations.

“It is incredibly comforting to know that this Unit can be activated and to Daniel Island from its base in 3-5 minutes. The helicopter can literally get the call while the ambulance is at the scene and be waiting on the ambulance at the pad in a minimal and effective response time. I hope we never need the pad, but I am grateful we have it.” -Josh Whitley, Berkeley County Council, District 2

“This helipad makes urgent medical transport available to Daniel Island and is similar to, but better, than most hospital helipads. Its location and pre-designated status helps dramatically cut down on emergency response times. This pre-designated status also keeps local fire and police from having to check and clear the scene ahead of ambulatory response, freeing up first responders for other area calls. There are lots of pluses and no minuses to this helipad.” -Bohuslav “Bob” Humplik, Helicopter EMS (HEMS) Pilot, Meducare

Emergency response time can mean the difference between life and death. Having a faster and guaranteed way to transport critical care patients off the island is further proof that Emergency Medical Services in Berkeley County is meeting the needs of our growing population.” -Chief Michael Shirey, Berkeley County Emergency Medical Services