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A Local “Sort Of” Mountain Rescue

May 23, 2014

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?  I’ve been so busy with paramedic school lately, I haven’t really had the time or energy to post.  And energy really is the bigger issue.  I worked (either in class, in a clinical shift, or actually at work) from March 31st to May 5th without a day off.  I then had May 5 and May 10-11 off, and I’ve been at it again since.  Looks like I’ll go until June 16 without a break this time.

There is finally a light at the end of the tunnel, however.  I’ll be done with hospital clinicals on June 16, and ready to start my field rides where I will finally begin precepting as a medic.  We will do the practical test on August 9, and if we pass we will proceed to the NREMT Paramedic written exam.  If I pass that, I’ll finally be a paramedic.

On to what I actually wanted to talk about.

I work and live in Richmond, VA which is a river city.  We say Richmond is 63 square miles, 61 of which are dry land.  The James River runs through town, neatly bisecting it into Northside and Southside.  One of Richmond’s claims to fame (in addition to hipsters, tattoos, craft breweries, beards, the Civil War, and crack cocaine/heroin) is that we are the only town (I think…) to have class IV rapids within the city limits.  Due to the large volume of use the James sees, the fire department conducts many water rescues each year.

This is the latest.  An depressed individual leaped off one of the several bridges that cross the river.  The fall did not kill him, but he was injured and ended up floating down the river to one of the rocks.  The water rescue team found him, packaged him…and then called for the calvary!

That’s MedFlight I, flown by the Virginia State Police.  It’s an awesome rescue, and a hell of a feat of airmanship on the part of the pilot.  However, I think what I love most about this video is how much style the chopper pilot has.  If it’s not enough to set the bird down precisely on that very small bit of rock, notice how he touches down, decides he dosen’t quite like the feel of it, and moves the helicopter forward about six inches to a more stable spot.  That’s just class.

Proof that medical emergencies that are distinctly “wilderness” in flavor can occur in a city of 2 million, with 9 medical centers and an EMS system that is makes it to emergencies within 9 minutes of 911 call 90% of the time!

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