Glades fire/EMS personnel receive copter evac training

Posted 11/23/20

A crew of AeroMed personnel based out of Tampa General Hospital and stationed in Highlands County flew in to conduct emergency evacuation in-service trainings...

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Glades fire/EMS personnel receive copter evac training


MOORE HAVEN — A crew of AeroMed personnel based out of Tampa General Hospital and stationed in Highlands County flew in to conduct emergency evacuation in-service trainings for all of Glades County’s fire and medical emergency responders last week and into the weekend.

They did a pump operator class the previous week, three days of instruction delivered via lectures, and they will be coming back to do hands-on trainings in which they go over the pumps on the fire trucks so everybody can learn more about how to run the various pump operations to fight fires.

“It gets here quick, it’s easy and it’s usually within that ‘gold hour’ when you can actually help,” said Public Safety Director Angie Colegrove, so it’s an important service extended to rural county residents by a large metropolitan hospital.

“They come to our Christmas party every year,” she said. That’s going to be a bit smaller event this year, Colegrove said, what with COVID-19 infections again on the rise, but they’ll have their gathering on Dec. 18 in the fire station’s huge truck bay to allow for social distancing and a safe party.

Nearly all of the county’s emergency vehicles were parked outside the firehouse on Friday morning as the morning shift crew was taking advantage of some beautiful weather for the first time in many days to make sure all of the brush trucks are at peak readiness for the wildfire season, a regular feature of Florida winters for eons.

The AeroMed crew was present Thursday afternoon for the night shift workers, and one more session was set for the weekend so that all of Glades’ emergency responders, both employees and volunteer firefighters, could take part.

The status of the volunteer firefighter corps in Glades at present has been improving, Colegrove said. In Muse they have two, with another two in line who have to pass their Fire 1 class before the department does its psychological evaluation and testing. In Ortona, they have five, one of whom is only a wildlands firefighter, so he can’t respond to house fires. One person has signed up to join. In Lakeport, they have four, with another person planning to join. Moore Haven has the most, she said, but she’s not sure of the exact number, but’s over a half-dozen. In Buckhead Ridge, they do not have any volunteer firefighters at the moment, “but we’re trying to recruit and work on that, and get that (station) back open,” she said.

Even while the AeroMed copter was approaching, responders on the ground must stay in constant contact with the pilot/EMT rescue team aboard it so as to help guide the pilot to a safe landing.

Once the team lands in response to an actual emergency, they will go into the local responders’ EMS unit to assess the patient(s) and prep them for transfer, then move the person with the locals’ help into the air ambulance.

Landing and takeoff are, obviously, the most dangerous part of the medical evacuation teams’ job, so their tasks must be executed precisely, every time, which is why these yearly.

“This is a really good program they have ... they put it on for all of the local first responders that they respond to,” said one of the Glades County EMT’s. He explained that the air ambulance service is a huge resource for small and rural counties to have available, because of distances they often have to travel to make it to an emergency scene so as to reach and begin treating injured people within that “golden hour,” because time, epecially, is critical for the cases they’re called in to help with.

Those could be anything from a multi-car accident or fire to a person experiencing a stroke or heart attack. They also can send in more than one helicopter if needed. Each flies with a crew of three maximum, the pilot, a nurse and a paramedic.

Other trainings for Glades County firefighters and emergency medical personnel will be taking place after Thanksgiving.

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