BY SARAH GREGORY
Emergency crews with the Tusculum Volunteer Fire Department and Greene County-Greeneville Emergency Medical Services conducted special training Saturday morning to prepare for responses that require patients to be transported by medical helicopters.
Both the Wellmont One Air Transport medical helicopter and the Wings Air Rescue medical helicopter were used in the practice.
The Tusculum Volunteer Fire Department organized the training, which was held in a football field adjacent to Doak Elementary School.
Stephen Harris, chief of the Tusculum Volunteer Fire Department, said the purpose was to train on various procedures used in response to motor vehicle accidents and other emergencies.
Personnel at the training were shown around and familiarized with the helicopters, and practiced the methods for loading patients into each.
The Wellmont One helicopter is what is called a "rear-loading" helicopter, where the patient's stretcher enters through doors that open on the rear under the helicopter's tail.
Wings Air Rescue uses a "side-loading" helicopter, where a patient on a stretcher is placed in the vehicle through doors on the side.
Responders practiced how to safely approach the helicopters, communication techniques, finding appropriate spots to establish landing zones, and hand signals for communicating with helicopter pilots.