April 3, 2020
Specializing in aerial wildfire response and management, the staff of Bridger Aerospace is already familiar with operating in emergency situations. The ongoing COVID-19 crisis, however, presents an entirely new situation for the Bozeman, MT-based company.
To help the surrounding community respond to the pandemic, Bridger has offered its facilities and aircraft to support local health organizations and emergency services.
“We have seen tectonic shifts in many of the fundamentals of global life,” said CEO Tim Sheehy. “It’s important for us to do our bit as a company and as individuals in these uncertain times.”
In addition to pledging its fleet of Daher Kodiak 100s and piston-engine and turboprop Twin Commanders to support Bozeman Health and regional blood-drive efforts, Bridger has also temporarily repurposed its newly constructed hangar – built to support the company’s incoming Viking (née Canadair) CL-415EAF Super Scooper firefighting aircraft – for use by employees to assemble plastic medical face shields for area medical providers.
“The crew working to finish the new hangar has also been shifted over to help finish up the hospital renovation earlier than scheduled,” noted Andrew Hill, Bridger’s director of maintenance.
As an essential aviation operation and maintenance provider, Bridger Aerospace and its Ascent Vision Technologies subsidiary have remained open throughout the COVID-19 crisis, enabling 140 people to stay on the job and at full pay. Hill emphasized that the company encourages any employee who feels ill to stay at home and follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization.
“We’ve taken several additional measures to protect our employees in this crisis, including strict social distancing measures and increased cleaning and sanitation procedures at our facilities,” Hill added. “All team members are encouraged to follow medical experts’ advice, such as avoiding public transportation and following general hygiene practices.”
With Montana’s wildfire season just two months away, Bridger Aerospace must also remain focused on its core mission, even during the current crisis.
“We’re actually looking for additional workers in our maintenance and support operations,” Hill said. “The fire season won’t wait for COVID-19 to pass.”