HOLTVILLE — The first one was for training, firefighters picking up their “patient” and quickly carrying him to a helicopter.
However, the second time no “patient” was present and crowds flooded the landing zone soon after the helicopter landed, almost turning the training into an open house.
The city’s Fire Department worked with REACH Air Ambulance Service to practice loading a patient onto the helicopter Wednesday evening.
Working in a drill situation is a great opportunity for both the helicopter personnel and the fire departments, said Larry Schlueter, REACH flight nurse. It allows both agencies to meet and talk, while also going over what they need to do on the ground to make it a safe and quick process. The average is to spend six minutes on the ground, getting information from the patient and loading them up.
“Just like anything else, the more you do it, the better you are,” he said.
And those firefighters on the ground did a superb job, said Brandon Walls, regional business relations manager for the air medical service, who was helping coordinate at the scene on Fourth and Fern streets.
Holtville is not the only law enforcement group REACH works with, he said. REACH tries to practice with all the fire departments every year, as well as other ambulance services. It helps prepare the public safety groups so the team is ready when someone is in dire need.
Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-337-3441.
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