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Sam Penrod

Life Flight gives behind-the-scenes view of emergency transportation

By Sam Penrod | Posted - Oct. 22, 2013 at 8:56 p.m.

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PROVO — A Life Flight helicopter gave a behind-the-scenes look Tuesday at some of their day-to-day operations and procedures in an emergency situation.

Every emergency flight carries some risk. A medical helicopter in Tennessee crashed Tuesday while headed to pick up a patient. All three rescue members on board died.

Life Flight has been flying in Utah for 35 years, and they realize that each day lives are at stake during the emergency transports. Life Flight has operated in Utah County since 2000, and have transported over 2,400 patients during that time.

Lori McBride is a pediatric flight nurse, and she often flies when children are hurt or very sick and need to be transported to a hospital.

"We are here available to go when a call comes in," McBride said. "It can be pretty intense and that's when it feels like time flies or goes really slow depending on how things are going. But we try to do most of our stabilizing on the ground, and then once we fly we try to get them here and definitive car as quickly as possible."

Pilot John Lords said he is focused on getting the patient to the hospital safely. He frequently deals with mountain terrain, bad weather and flying in the dark, but he said those are situations that Life Flight pilots constantly train for.

"My job is when the call comes in to get the medical teams to and from where they need to be," Lords said. "The priority for me is the safety of the crew and the aircraft and then making sure we can complete the mission."

The helicopter flies at over 150 miles per hour when transporting a victim to quickly get them to medical facility where they can receive life-saving treatments.

"Time is a muscle," said paramedic Kevin Kemp. "Time is brain. If they are having a cardiac event or a stroke, we have to get them here so we do so many things to cut down the minutes. They're injured, they're typically scared, and they're super anxious."

Each successful flight brings the crew satisfaction, knowing their patient has a better chance at recovery.

"I think we all feel lucky to be able to do the job and what makes the job is being able to make a difference in people's lives," Kemp said.


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