Emergency teams learn the ropes of helicopter rescue | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Emergency teams learn the ropes of helicopter rescue

Mary Thompson

Four rescue helicopters touched down at the South Lake Tahoe Airport Sunday for a safety demonstration and orientation for local fire and law enforcement personnel.

The helicopters – Care Flight, from Minden, Nev.; Calstar, from Auburn; California Highway Patrol, from Auburn; and Fallon Naval Air Station, from Fallon, Nev. – are the primary air supports used for search and rescue purposes and transportation of victims in multi-casualty accidents.

“They’re extremely important to us and we call on them a lot,” said El Dorado County Sheriff Deputy Terry Fleck. “Between the fire departments and El Dorado County Search and Rescue, we probably use them 30 to 40 times a summer.

“If we have a definite landing zone, we use Care Flight first because they’re the closest and then we call Calstar if they’re not available,” he said. “For situations without a landing zone, we call the CHP helicopter out of Auburn or the Fallon helicopter.”

Fleck said that the Fallon helicopter is unique in that it has hoisting capabilities and can pick up an injured person while in the air or lower rescue personnel to the ground without landing.

Fleck said that the role the helicopters play in saving lives is essential.

“That rapid transport, the golden hour is very important,” he said.

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