Aeromedical Services

San Juan County is served by two Air Medical Service companies.

Why two?

San Juan County has two commercial Air Medivac companies which provide services to our communities. They are Airlift Northwest (ALNW) and Island Air Ambulance (IAA). ALNW is primarily a helicopter medivac service but does have airplanes in its fleet. ALNW is based in cities along the Western coast of Washington State, the closest being Bellingham. Island Air Ambulance provides medivac services with airplanes and is based in Friday Harbor. Both companies have a history of providing services in San Juan County and come with qualified emergency medical crews.

Should I belong to both companies?

Yes, OIFR recommends that you purchase a membership with both companies.


Both companies are certified to the same level or care and can transport critical patients and severe trauma patients. However, adverse weather and the availability of aircraft are both a consideration when trying to medivac a patient off island. There is no way to predict the weather, the nature of the emergency or aircraft availability. Weather conditions (wind, icing conditions, or fog to name a few) sometimes dictate which medivac provider is able to land an aircraft on Orcas Island and then transport to a medical facility. These same weather conditions may also affect which hospital destination is chosen. There are also times when aircraft are not available because they are already transporting patients and your medical condition warrants an immediate transport. In these cases, the closest available resource is used to transport you to an emergency department/specialty center. Therefore, due to weather or aircraft availability you may be transported by either company servicing our area. Both companies offer air medivac memberships and we recommend you participate in both programs. We encourage you to visit the websites of Island Air Ambulance and Airlift Northwest to learn more about our partners in patient care.

Airlift Northwest

Airlift Northwest is pleased to offer AirCare, a membership program that provides Southeast Alaska and Washington residents with high-quality air medical service at an affordable cost. Learn more.


Island Air Ambulance

Island Air Ambulance is the critical care medevac service located in San Juan County is FAA and State of Washington licensed and CAMTS accredited.

The medically configured aircraft transport patients requiring rapid evacuation to the mainland, and are outfitted with all of the necessary equipment and patient carrying devices needed to provide the highest quality care in the air.

Interested in becoming an Island Air Member to negate any out of pocket costs for air medical evacuation through Island Air Ambulance? Apply now!

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