Recently area first responders attended training provided by North Country Life Flight. The topics taught and practiced were how to safely operate in the vicinity of the life flight helicopter, how to help select landing zones, and how to safely load and unload patients into and out of the helicopter while it is still running (Hot Loads).
Often times fire and EMS will call on helicopters to assist in a wide array of emergency operations, this training focused specifically on how to prepare for and assist the Life Flight crew in the event of an emergency transport of a sick or injured patient. Along with the SLVFD, the SLVRS and our neighboring PSGVFD all participated together as a team, which is almost always the case when we are working actual emergencies.
The primary instruction was provided by New York State Police Pilots and North Country Life Flight personnel. The pilots first instructed on safety around the aircraft, communicating with the aircraft, selecting landing zones, and even obscure things like how to avoid blinding the pilot with our emergency lights at night when they are flying with night vision goggles. The medical personnel then provided instruction on how to load and unload the patient. This might seem easy but the receptacle the secures the litter in the helicopter is different than the one that secures a stretcher in a ground ambulance, add to this the hurricane force wind from the main rotor and the hazard of making sure nobody goes near the tail rotor. All this needs to be rehearsed, which is exactly what happened next. You guessed it, they fired up the helicopter, landed it on the ground like a real emergency scene and 4 at a time each of the first responders practiced loading and unloading under the live rotor wash just like they would do on an actual emergency. This is obviously something that we need to experience before we have to do it in real life.
As we have said in all of our training articles, it takes a lot of training to be ready for all of these incidents. Your SLVFD as well as all first responders are working very hard to be prepared to serve the community we love when the time comes.