We often take helicopters for granted in the fire and emergency services.
Like many of you, I've experienced the uplifting feeling of hearing approaching rotor blades while working a critical patient.
However, this story also reinforces the inherent danger of air operations, even in a routine situation with a very experienced pilot.
The availability of helicopters for medevac, search and rescue (SAR), aerial reconnaissance, and wildland firefighting missions continues to improve across the United States.
That's generally a good thing, but those of us who benefit from these important airborne assets must always consider the risks versus benefits of calling a helicopter; especially to the brave men and women who operate them.
About the author
With more than two decades in the field, Chief Adam K. Thiel — FireRescue1's editorial advisor — is an active fire chief in the National Capital Region and a former state fire director for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Chief Thiel's operational experience includes serving with distinction in four states as a chief officer, incident commander, company officer, hazardous materials team leader, paramedic, technical rescuer, structural/wildland firefighter and rescue diver. He also directly participated in response and recovery efforts for several major disasters including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tropical Storm Gaston and Hurricane Isabel.
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