Heliport Pad for Life-Threatening Emergencies in Sharps Chapel

Helipad at Sunset Bay

U.T. LifeStar — the Medical Air Emergency Team Serving Sharps Chapel, TN

Many of us live in Sharps Chapel because of the beauty and serenity that accompanies being remote.   But when an emergency happens, it is comforting to know that help is not far away–  thanks to a free community resource that is available to all — a heliport pad for evacuation of life-threatening emergencies.

The community of Sharps Chapel is quite fortunate to have this free resource, which was made possible by the Sunset Bay Board of Directors as a way to give back to the community.  The helipad is located near the Sunset Bay Clubhouse, which is located on the shores of Norris Lake.  The waterside location is an added benefit because in the case of a life-threatening boating or water accident access to LifeStar is nearby.

The presence of this landing pad could cut off as much as 80 minutes from a trip by ambulance to the University of Tennessee Medical Center from our remote area of Union County.   What would normally be a 90-minute drive is shortened to between 8 and 11 minutes with a LifeStar flight.

Helipad Plaque at Sunset Bay

In an emergency, simply call 9-1-1 as usual.  The local emergency responders are trained to evaluate your medical condition and are authorized to make Life-flight calls that will be routed to the Union County Emergency Medical Services’ dispatch center in Maynardville and sent to LifeStar, the University of Tennessee’s heliport.

LifeStar operates helicopters around the clock in four locations in East Tennessee and can respond within a 150-mile radius of Knoxville.  A LifeStar pilot, paramedic and nurse operate together as a flying emergency department.

Obtain a UT LifeStar Membership

While the use of the helipad is free, the actual helicopter transportation is not.  The first use of the helipad occurred in 2010 and cost $16,000.  If you are one to plan ahead, you can eliminate this cost entirely by obtaining a UT Lifestar membership.

The benefits? Members who are transported by any network provider, will not receive a bill for the flight. Importantly, your membership is valid across 24 states with over 136 base locations, so you are covered while traveling in those areas.

H Marks the Spot

Jim and I recently obtained a membership and can atest that it does give peace of mind and a sense of control in the event of a crisis.  This cost was very little for a 1 year membership:

  • $50 for one member household
  • $55 for a two member household
  • $60 for a three or more member household
  • discounts available for 3- and 5-year memberships.



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