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Smokejumpers Get Checked Out On new Evac Chopper

by Brin Merkley |

Smokejumpers get checked out on new evac chopper

(MISSOULA)- Missoula's elite smoke jumpers have a better idea of how to use the region's new medical helicopter if they should have to evacuate a fallen comrade.

The USFS crews got a briefing from Northwest MedStar Tuesday on how to gear up on transport operation and the features of the new helicopter that came into service this spring.

When fires hit, Northwest Medstar and the Smokejumpers work in collaboration with each other to mark a safe landing zone, communicate with the pilot and assist with loading patients.

Smokejumpers also discussed the specifics of working with North West MedStar's new Airbus EC-135 helicopter, and scenarios specifics to working in remote terrain.

As the firefighters checked out the helicopter, all could be heard making positive remarks about the extra room available to load victims who are on the tall side.

Alex Williams/Missoula Smokejumper: "I like the new helicopter," observed Smokejumper Alex Williams."I think it has some different capabilities, primarily capacity for larger patients. We just trained here, loaded in a patient who was 6'4" tall and he fit in with room to spare so that's, that's nice for us to have that capability."

Northwest MedStar is a critical care transport program that provides high quality care and transport to thousands of patients each year from its bases around the western United States.