GRATIS — The Gratis Fire Department and EMS, along with members from the West Elkton Fire Department and Somerville Fire and EMS participated in training with Lifeline in Gratis on Monday, Aug. 31.
LifeLine is a rescue helicopter service in association with Indiana University Health, who has one of their helicopters stationed in Richmond, Indiana.
The training, according to Gratis Fire Chief Andy Cook is an important step in providing Preble County with more emergency response options.
Around 20 members from the three departments sat through a half hour class room training before participating in walk-throughs and hot runs of loading a victim into the helicopter.
Kristy Gibson, a register nurse who serves on the rescue helicopter and is also the regional outreach coordinator for the group, said they do a couple of trainings a month teaching departments how to help safely transport trauma victims from the scene to the helicopter.
The reason for the training according to Gibson is to expedite the process of getting a trauma victim to the hospital. Gibson told those in attendance, “We are in the business of time.”
Gibson explained how LifeLine offers a rear loading dock compared to a side loading process like Care Flight.
Having a back-loading system require slightly different loading techniques than that of side loading rescue helicopters. Gibson explained how it is important first responders understand the different loading practices of the two types of helicopters for their own safety when loading victims.
Cook also said it was important for the safety of those on his department and other departments in attendance to know the safety procedures of both types of helicopter loading so they are comfortable to call either type of rescue helicopter to a scene.
Cook said being able to use both helicopter services providers in the area means his department will be able to use which ever service can respond in the quickest and safest manner to scene to hopefully help save lives of people in need.
Gibson also said many people assume LifeLine is unable to transport to hospitals outside the IU hospital network, however said they are capable of landing at any hospital in the geographical area including the new Kettering Emergency Room located in Eaton.
LifeLine has a typical launch time of six minutes according to Gibson, who also said every helicopter has a registered nurse, a paramedic, a wheeled stretcher and even bags of blood so they can give blood transfusions en route to the hospital.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.