Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'Golden hour' key to life or death rescue situations

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When it comes to rescuing people in remote locations such as the lake or cottage, the "golden hour" is the rule.

If crews can get to an accident victim within an hour, survival rates go up, St. Andrews Fire Department chief Ken Peacock explained.

On an abandoned airstrip at St. Andrews Airport,  Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society's members and local fire departments demonstrated how a "golden hour" rescue works.

The exercise involved rescuing a man from a car accident. Local firefighters at the scene guide the STARS helicopter in to a safe landing. Emergency teams then do as much treatment as they can on the ground before transporting him to the helicopter -- again with the help of the local firefighters.

"We rely on the folks on the ground to set up a safe landing zone for the helicopter to operate from," said Dave Harding, aviation base manager for STARS. "It's a vital piece of the puzzle in terms of getting the helicopter to and from an accident scene."

Peacock said the exercise is great for his crew because it's not something you can learn from an instructional video and getting together with real fire departments is crucial.

Firefighters on the ground are key to the operation, informing STARS of any wires, secondary fires or other obstacles.

"This is just an opportunity for us to come out and train with them to show our members how to land a helicopter properly, safely, so nobody gets hurt," said Peacock. "I think we've got it down to a point where we can firmly land a helicopter with no problem whatsoever."

steph.crosier@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 10, 2013 A4

History

Updated on Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 9:59 AM CDT: Fixed title of Ken Peacock, who is chief of the St. Andrews Fire Department.

March 12, 2013 at 10:14 AM: corrects typo in cutline

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