Salisbury Press

Sunday, October 21, 2018
PRESS PHOTOS BY JIM MARSHFirefighters from several area municipalities joined forces to hone their skills in a helicopter crash drill April 24. ABOVE: Engines from Western Salisbury and Woodlawn fire companies flank a Lehigh Valley Health Network MedEvac helicopter in a Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest parking lot April 24 during a training drill simulating an aircraft crash. The helicopter was PRESS PHOTOS BY JIM MARSHFirefighters from several area municipalities joined forces to hone their skills in a helicopter crash drill April 24. ABOVE: Engines from Western Salisbury and Woodlawn fire companies flank a Lehigh Valley Health Network MedEvac helicopter in a Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest parking lot April 24 during a training drill simulating an aircraft crash. The helicopter was
A tanker from South Whitehall’s Woodlawn Fire Station supplies water to a Western Salisbury pumper engine in a parking lot at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest during a training exercise April 24 simulating an aircraft crash. Firefighters in the background drill using streams of fire-retardant foam dispersed into a retention pond instead of onto the high-value helicopter. A tanker from South Whitehall’s Woodlawn Fire Station supplies water to a Western Salisbury pumper engine in a parking lot at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest during a training exercise April 24 simulating an aircraft crash. Firefighters in the background drill using streams of fire-retardant foam dispersed into a retention pond instead of onto the high-value helicopter.
PRESS PHOTOS BY JIM MARSHA MedEvac helicopter pilot at Lehigh Valley Health Network shows firefighters the emergency fuel cutoff switch they would have to access in the event of an emergency following a chopper hard landing where the pilot might be incapacitated, during a training exercise involving a simulated aircraft crash of a medical helicopter staged in a remote parking area at the Lehigh PRESS PHOTOS BY JIM MARSHA MedEvac helicopter pilot at Lehigh Valley Health Network shows firefighters the emergency fuel cutoff switch they would have to access in the event of an emergency following a chopper hard landing where the pilot might be incapacitated, during a training exercise involving a simulated aircraft crash of a medical helicopter staged in a remote parking area at the Lehigh
Firefighters from Western Salisbury, Eastern Salisbury, Lower Macungie and South Whitehall’s Woodlawn station are briefed on a medical helicopter’s main shut-down systems during an “aircraft down” training exercise April 24 at a remote parking area at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest. Firefighters from Western Salisbury, Eastern Salisbury, Lower Macungie and South Whitehall’s Woodlawn station are briefed on a medical helicopter’s main shut-down systems during an “aircraft down” training exercise April 24 at a remote parking area at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest.
Firefighters direct streams of fire-suppressant foam into a detention pond during a simulated aircraft crash training exercise April 24 at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest. The firefighters used the exercise to practice foam handling technique and directed the foam into the detention pond rather than onto the high-value helicopter that was staged to add realism to the drill. Firefighters direct streams of fire-suppressant foam into a detention pond during a simulated aircraft crash training exercise April 24 at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest. The firefighters used the exercise to practice foam handling technique and directed the foam into the detention pond rather than onto the high-value helicopter that was staged to add realism to the drill.

Area firefighters drill procedures in hospital aircraft down exercise

Thursday, May 10, 2018 by JIM MARSH Special to The Press in Local News

The tones activated the morning of April 24 on the pagers of four area fire companies were both ominous and reassuring at the same time. While preceded by the audio “This is a drill,” the message followed that the training exercise involved a simulated “aircraft crash,” an alert for the type of emergency a first responder dreads.

But, that does not mean they dreaded the training. Simulations are designed to provide a practiced response, so the real thing would produce a professional and effective rescue effort.

Western Salisbury Volunteer Fire Company was the lead agency for the training exercise, in cooperation with the Lehigh Valley Health Network. The health network had arranged for a MedEvac helicopter to be staged in a remote parking area at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, then surprised the network’s own emergency response personnel with an unfolding scenario.

Eastern Salisbury, Lower Macungie and South Whitehall’s Woodlawn fire stations also provided personnel and equipment for the emergency response training. Each of those companies would be dispatched for the real thing.

A Woodlawn tanker hooked into a Western Salisbury pumper, to provide an immediate water supply while firefighters practiced fire-suppressant procedures, discharging foam streams into a nearby detention pond rather than onto the expensive helicopter staged there.

Western Salisbury Fire Department Chief Joshua Wells critiqued the four-company response, and led a debriefing with firefighter participation.

MedEvac personnel provided hands-on training to the firefighters in emergency shut-down systems that would come into play if the helicopter pilot were disabled. An overview of the medical helicopter’s main systems provided a familiarization tour for the firefighters.

Both Wells and hospital emergency responders, as well as Salisbury Police Department command officers on scene, proclaimed the training exercise a valuable and worthwhile experience.