Since its inception, Mercy Flight has been independent of any hospital, delivering patients to the facility that will best suit their medical needs by working closely with the regional network of hospitals, ground EMS, law enforcement, and fire authorities. In 1981, Douglas H. Baker, owner and operator of LaSalle Ambulance, had a vision to assist more patients in need. Mr. Baker approached several individuals within the healthcare field at the time to jump on board, but due to the immaturity of EMS as a whole, they felt current practices in place were sufficient. Mr. Baker remained dedicated to his mission and found Sister Sheila Marie Walsh, Dr. Matthew Burke, Dr. James Ehinger who shared his vision of providing air medical services to the communities of Western New York. Mercy Flight was established as the pioneer air-medical service in New York State and one of the first operations like it in the United States. It began operations from one base in Buffalo, 12 hours a day, utilizing one leased 206B Jet Ranger helicopter (N902EH) staffed by two pilots and three LaSalle Ambulance Paramedics.
August 15, Mercy EMS begins operations in the Town of Niagara under temporary operating authority in response to an emergency need determined by the Town. Mercy EMS increases the availability of dedicated resources to virtually 100%.