By Everett Brazil, III
THE Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — The Newkirk community experienced a sight refcently as an AirEvac medical helicopter landed in the parking lot of the Kay County Courthouse. The landing had nothing to do with a serious injury or illness, however, as it was a training session for the Newkirk Fore Department (NFD) and ambulance service to keep everyone up-to-date on training for when they are forced to work with the helicopter on a call.
The AirEvac helicopter used in the training is stationed at the AllianceHealth Ponca City Hospital. The helicopter responds to numerous calls within the NFD’s territory, necessitating the need for the training.
“I don’t think people know how much we use AirEvac, so we had the helicopter at the Courthouse, and we we had some training with it,” said Newkirk Fire Chief Adam Longcrier.
The training included several concepts, the first of which was landing, including how to call the helicopter to the scene as well as having a clear landing zone. They also went over what to do should there be problems with the helicopter, such as shutting off the fuel lines and the batteries to reduce the risk to the lives of the firefighters and the helicopter crew.
“We also trained on how to secure the helicopter, if it were to go down,” Longcrier said. “We go through about three to six hours of training to let us know how to bring it down safely, and if something were to happen, how to take care of it.”
That training also includes EMT and patient care training, he said.
“It takes a lot to bring it in safely. You have to be on your toes when you bring the helicopter in,” he said.
While the NFD doesn’t call the AirEvac daily, they are called enough times to warrant the training, and when the helicopter is called, many of the cases are trauma-related.
“We probably call it in about 10 – 12 times a year, and 90 percent of those are accidents,” he said. “We’ve called them for medical runs where the patient was so bad, they had to get them to higher care, or they wouldn’t make it.”
It is for situations like these that they prepare for the time when the AirEvac helicopter is needed.
“That is why we train for it, to be completely prepared for that situation,” he said.