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Using Medevacs For S&r


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#1 Irishflyer5

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 04:42 PM

Hello,
I am new to Flightweb, so apologize if theis topic has been covered already.
I have been speaking to a great number of fire departments in the area where I work (northern Illinois) and there seems to be an increase in questions as to whether or not we can help with Search and Rescue Operations. Specifically, the FD's are having trouble finding victims as the corn around here gets taller. An example being a small plane goes down in a field: they would like to know if we could fly over the field, find the plane, hover over it until rescue crews can get to it, then land in an LZ they have set up for us so we can transport the victim.
They tell me Coast Guard around here usually takes up to an hour to an hour and a half to respond, and the only other helicopter that does this is all volunteer: so they may or may not be able to respond.
Are there any flight programs that aid with S&R? <_<
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#2 k9medic

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 10:20 PM

The big issue is if S&R is included in the EMS helicopters ops specs. Some are, but most are not. We generally referred those types of flights to law enforcement aircraft.
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#3 nosleep4r

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 10:39 PM

There are some specific programs in the area that will provide the service, but as with everything it is program specific. I'm not sure how far North you are, but there is a couple programs in Wisconsin that I utilize. If you send me a e-mail, I would be happy to Help. As far as the Coast Guard, last I checked, they have an Aircraft in your area during the summer months, but are based uear round in Traverse City, MI. I have used them in the past as well and they will respond, but it takes a bit. ....

Good luck..

RB
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#4 Bob Steinbauer

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 02:02 AM

Look at the certificate holders operations manual, there should be specific detail if you can do search and rescue, it may be more a search and assist.

Food for thought: The aircraft is usually not equipped for rescue, the ops manual should provide guidance on what you can/cannot do.
Find out if there are other agencies (PD, CG) that are equipped for search/assist/rescue, if yes and are available, send them.
If there is criminal activity involved, decline the request.
Limit yourself to one load of fuel on the search/assist, if more time is needed bounce that off your bosses not the flight crew.
The pilots duty is to fly, get approval to take a FD or PD member if you are not familar with the search area.
Operational control is an avaition decision to approve the request, the hospital may request it be done but it is usually an aviaiton
manager or higher to approve the flight. This varies by program, vendor, CHECK YOUR OPS MANUAL
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#5 Speed

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 03:34 AM

This is a subject that is near and dear to me, and one that I feel needs more attention in my service region. Being a prior service "Coastie" assigned to an air station, and currently working for a private air ambulance, I always jump at the opportunity to assist in a SAR call. With that said, as much as I would like to do more, we're just not equipped or trained. Plus between our FAR's, safety program, standardization, etc. it would never happen in my company. Where I'm at there's really no one who could appropriately pull off a hoist or night time aided vision mission (NVG's and thermal imagers), except for the National Guard (and they rarely activate for anything). Now, we can assist with daytime searches, and occasionally have some effectiveness at night under the right circumstances (VFR program, no night sun). I would like to see someone who has 24 hr. crews and a faster response than the Air Nat. Guard step up and provide hoist ops. or better night time search capabilities. It would be nice if the state or federal govt. could provide a contract for that in each state. As tempting as it would be I've gotten a little too fat and lazy to do it anymore. There are some really cool programs that have what I would call "real" SAR capabilities; STAR Flight in Austin, and a few others.
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Mike Williams CCEMT-P/FP-C

#6 MedFly244

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 01:06 PM

Our program will dispatch helicopters to assist in search efforts. We will remain on scene to assist for a "reasonable" amount of time and offer medical assistance as requested. We do not launch for "Man Hunts" or law enforcement type searches. The Coast Guard and law enforcement aircraft are better equipped for searches, but not always readily available. If you want further details on specific policies please feel free to e-mail me.
DAF
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#7 Irishflyer5

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 01:36 PM

Thank you to everyone for the replies and suggestions. With the weather that blew through here last night, its taken a while for me to be able to get back on line.
Our specs do cover us to do SAR. We cannot really do rescue as we do not have a hoist, etc. I apologize for not stating that earlier. And we would never assist with manhunts. This is more of a service provided to quicken the finding of someone injured then landing so we can get them to a Level I faster.
Mostly the assistance the FD's want is for search; using our night sun etc. to light the area up at night. The FD's figure we have a better chance of finding the victims quicker from the air.
The State police in Illinois used to do this but I do not believe they are flying anymore. Chicago will not leave the city limits. With the Coast Guard in TC in the winter, the FD's are pretty much SOL. That's why they are looking to us and the other programs in the area.
I like the suggestion of one fuel load. I will pass that along to the powers that be. Anything else you can suggest is highly appreciated.
Nosleep4r, I will be emailing you shortly.
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#8 Irishflyer5

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 01:44 PM

One more thing: This may help explain what I mean.
One local FD has a small airport in thier town and in the last 2 months they have had two small aircraft go down in the corn fields. It took them almost two hours to find the one vicitm because the reports they were getting from the ground were totally off when it came to the location of the aircraft. (He actually wen down in a neighboring town) Fortunantley he was okay, but had he been injured, the FD was concerned about how long it had taken to finally find him. They are certain that from the air we would have seen him much earlier.
Another FD had a man lost in a river in a large State park that they finally found when the CG got there 2 hrs later and saw the viciti :huh: m from the air. He didn't make it.
This is why they are inquiring about this service.
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#9 Sine Mora

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 09:13 PM

They are certain that from the air we would have seen him much earlier.


We do, on occasion, respond to searches. NO rescue involved, we offer our eyes only. I'd say (no science involved in this conclusion) the person(s) are found by people on ground first at least 75% of the time. The people we have found, we usually find walking along a roadway or in some other place where they would soon be found by persons on the ground.

I point out the quoted section as it reminds me of a similar misconception. I have a friend who is a captain for a FD we work with often and who also dispatches from time to time. One day he's voicing frustration in why it seems like some days we are just blind and can't find his "big shiny truck with lots of flashy lights" from the air. So.... in broad daylight on a clear blue day, our generous pilot (since moved on to another program :angry: ) offers to take him up for a demonstration. Of course, he accepts and after some briefing and safety so-and-so, up we go. Nothing crazy, between 1,000 and 2,000 ft above ground level we take a brief tour of town and then a bit out of town to approach our theoretical landing zone and I ask him to identify hwy xyz. He cannot. I ask him to identify ANY highway or building. He is a bit taken back by how hard it really can be to identify LARGE STRUCTURES. Then I ask him to start looking for people. By the time we come home he has a whole new appreciation for his mistaken assumption.

Since then, I've overheard that captain correct another FF's assumption that "we ought to be able to find anything from up there" more than once. Don't get me wrong, we still come and lend a hand, er... eye, but now the expectation isn't quite so tough to meet.

Obviously we can't be hauling every hose jockey (That's a joke! Much love to the FFs!) with a question around on a whim --- but if you could take the right leader/chief/decision maker/etc. for a ride, and demonstrate this to them, it may help?

For the record, we don't make it a habit of taking civilians on flights. We DO allow comm specs the occasional ride and that's the ticket that allowed him a ride.
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#10 Jwade

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 11:06 PM

This is a subject that is near and dear to me, and one that I feel needs more attention in my service region. Being a prior service "Coastie" assigned to an air station, and currently working for a private air ambulance, I always jump at the opportunity to assist in a SAR call. With that said, as much as I would like to do more, we're just not equipped or trained. Plus between our FAR's, safety program, standardization, etc. it would never happen in my company. Where I'm at there's really no one who could appropriately pull off a hoist or night time aided vision mission (NVG's and thermal imagers), except for the National Guard (and they rarely activate for anything). Now, we can assist with daytime searches, and occasionally have some effectiveness at night under the right circumstances (VFR program, no night sun). I would like to see someone who has 24 hr. crews and a faster response than the Air Nat. Guard step up and provide hoist ops. or better night time search capabilities. It would be nice if the state or federal govt. could provide a contract for that in each state. As tempting as it would be I've gotten a little too fat and lazy to do it anymore. There are some really cool programs that have what I would call "real" SAR capabilities; STAR Flight in Austin, and a few others.



Fence Post,

I do not mean any disrespect here, but how in the world do you guys manage night scene calls without a night sun? Are you relying strictly on your little landing light? Unless, I am misreading your quote above?


Thanks
Respectfully,
JW
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#11 Speed

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 11:11 PM

One thing that does bug me during these "extra set of eyes" missions, usually assisting with a search, is the lack of a good pre-briefing and development of a search plan. Usually we get minimal information and are asked to just "fly around" looking for a missing person, downed A/C, etc. I can usually go with it, but when I notice the pilot just flying around in some weird, random, what I like to call, "ice skating" pattern (i.e. wasting fuel) I have to speak up and ask, "what the hell are you doing?" I would like to see more SAR training for the entire crew. Maybe CAMTS should put more emphasis on teaching flight crews on how to develop a search pattern, and other effective tactics in attempting a search by air. I hate to beat the same old drum, but being prior military these types of things "irk" the hell out of me.
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Mike Williams CCEMT-P/FP-C

#12 Speed

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 11:22 PM

Fence Post,

I do not mean any disrespect here, but how in the world do you guys manage night scene calls without a night sun? Are you relying strictly on your little landing light? Unless, I am misreading your quote above?
Thanks
Respectfully,
JW



None taken. Short answer: we don't. We'll make a call to the requesting party, explain the situation, tell them who could do a better job, and go back to bed. Now, there have been a few night time SAR ops where we've done some good, but those were with some special circumstances. For example: an elderly man and his grandson were overdue to return from a river/canoe trip at night. They had a CB radio, made a request for help, and through triangulating their position with the ability to communicate with them (indirectly) we found them pretty fast. Daytime, yeah, we've pulled them off pretty well, which always surprises me. Again, to answer your question we usually don't do them because 300' is as low as we can maneuver at night, and with the "reading lamp" we have on our belly it's just not effective or safe.
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Mike Williams CCEMT-P/FP-C

#13 pureadrenalin

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 07:30 PM

To the OP, you and I are probably not that far apart. I'm from SE WI. We've used both the CG and ANG before, with having a ANG Base close to my area helps. They actually will fly on a fairly regular basis, and do have pmed's on-board. Nobody thinks of them though. I've actually had both the ANG and CG come and take PT's from me when the local HEMS is unavailable. They tend to fly in crappier weather seeing as they don't fall under the same rules as privatized HEMS does.

Honestly, the best thing you can do is find where your closest ANG program is with staffing, and contact them explaining your wishes. They should be more than accommodating. I think the CG helo from TC goes back sometime in late October, early November. Takes them about 30-45min to get across the pond.
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#14 onearmwonder

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 01:23 PM

Hello,
I am new to Flightweb, so apologize if theis topic has been covered already.
I have been speaking to a great number of fire departments in the area where I work (northern Illinois) and there seems to be an increase in questions as to whether or not we can help with Search and Rescue Operations. Specifically, the FD's are having trouble finding victims as the corn around here gets taller. An example being a small plane goes down in a field: they would like to know if we could fly over the field, find the plane, hover over it until rescue crews can get to it, then land in an LZ they have set up for us so we can transport the victim.
They tell me Coast Guard around here usually takes up to an hour to an hour and a half to respond, and the only other helicopter that does this is all volunteer: so they may or may not be able to respond.
Are there any flight programs that aid with S&R? <_<


If you truely want an opinion from an experienced SAR provider you need to contact the National Park Service about this. They are the best and safest and are the most appropriate resources to bounce questions and Ideas off of. Specifically you should try to contact Ken Phillips in Grand Canyon National Park or Renny Jackson in Grand Teton National Park. Both of these gentleman and a few others have hands down the most experience in america in regards to helicopter operations with a medical component. They're contact info is public knowledge and should be easy to look up and are a good start. And they will let you know straight up if your service should or should not be participating in SAR. Hope you find what you are looking for.

Best Wishes,

Matt King FP-C
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#15 Macgyver

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 03:12 AM

Our Sierra Foothills regions bases near Lake Tahoe do them fairly often - up to one hour of flight time. NVG equipped and has helped locate. Do not hoist or long line, do not always land but at least can relay coordinates (situationally dependent). Also puts us immediately available to transport if located and approriate. Agree with the comment about a proper search plan briefing and experienced searchmaster on the ground. PLS and POD data/projections are essential. No firsthand experience here so can't say how good/bad it is when it comes to the appropriate utilisation of air assets. Besides - FLIR is a great tool but usually only on public safety or military aircraft and using a VFR only non NVG program if those assets are available, even if delayed, to fly around is poor judgement in my opinion.

From my experience (2 other programs, both in the Canadian North and Arctic, one civilian / 1 military) flying a grid or contours in the mountains, day OR night, is not something to be done lightly by the untrained. Both pilots and spotters (and PIC should be concentrating on flying not looking). Spotters controlled aircraft direction in the sense they called out turns and plotted the track (20 min max at each job before switching roles) so good navigation skills are also required of the crews. EXCELLENT and practiced CRM is essential along with drills to keep sharp. Consider having your program affiliate with the CAP - training and search fuel costs at least will be covered and spotter/pilot certification can be obtained and documented. WILL need ammendment to opspecs for most programs.

In short fly-by-night / come-as-you-are is NOT a good idea from both the flight safety as well as search efficiency perspective. In my opinion.

(On the other hand we were doing 500' max in a C-130 or DHC-6 or BH-212 or 206, sometimes at significantly higher airspeeds or with the drag and performance loss due to floats. So these comments may not apply to an A-Star on the prairies).
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