Thursday, March 18, 2010

Talk About A View From Your Office Window

Posted By on Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 4:27 PM

There I was at 10,000 feet, once again reminded that one person's office is someone else's playground.

To be fair, I often think of my office as a playground, too. A playground with very large, dangerous, expensive toys. And so it was that I was in a Eurocopter EC135, orbiting a forest service lookout on Smith Mountain, somewhere in Adams County. Like most seemingly simple tasks, the objective was well-defined. No.1: locate injured snowmobile rider. No. 2: locate flat-enough-to-be-safe-and-free-enough-of-trees landing zone, ideally somewhere near the injured sledder. No.3: safely extract said sledder from snowy wilderness and transport him to a hospital. All in a day's work at Life Flight.

And on a beautiful, sunny St. Patrick's Day, what could possibly make for a better and more exciting experience? Perhaps a chance encounter with an Idaho native, who also happens to be the gold medal winner in freestyle snowmobiling at the most recent World Winter X Games in Europe. Yep. I say, "all in a day's work," but really it's not every day that I get to fly in a helicopter and ride on a snowmobile behind a Red Bull-sponsored champion who helps my crew and I access the patient and then get him back to the helicopter so that we can expedite his transport to a trauma center.

This is where we parked the aircraft:

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And the dark spot on the slope in the middle of this photo is where the patient was:

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Too bad all I had for photography was my Blackberry.

We completed that mission with just enough time to get to the ribbon-cutting ceremony that celebrated the opening of Council Ambulance's brand new home. The all-volunteer Council EMS crews work part-time all the time in order to respond to emergencies and avert disaster in rural Idaho. Kudos to them for what they do, and congratulations on raising the money to build a new EMS station.

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