By Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News
The Tulalip Bay Fire Department is updating emergency plans, which includes finding landing zones for patients needing helicopter transport. On Wednesday, May 7, TBFD coordinated an airlift drill with Airlift Northwest, a Med-Evac company that operates in Snohomish County. In addition to finding suitable landing zones accessible to various housing developments, TBFD firefighters reviewed airlift protocols and safety procedures.
At approximately 8:30 p.m. the Airlift Northwest Med-Evac helicopter landed in the field next to the Tulalip health clinic, the old Boom City site. Firefighters set up the landing zone prior to the arrival of the Med-Evac. When the helicopter had landed, the emergency response team from Airlift Northwest reviewed some landing procedures, highlighting what TBFD did well, and what to keep in mind for emergency situations. Airlift Northwest also discussed how landing procedures might vary depending on time of day, weather conditions, the patient condition, and status of a landing zone. They then demonstrated how to properly load a patient into the helicopter.
TBFD has selected and defined five landing zones around the reservation, near neighborhoods and areas with higher population densities. In addition to identifying landing zones, they have developed a protocol for contingent landing zones. For example, the baseball field at the tribal center is a landing zone, but it could be occupied for a game or other event at any time. Therefor the contingent landing zone is the old Boom City site, where the drill was executed. They have also developed a protocol for securing on-scene landing zones, where a Med-Evac chopper could land in a suitable location other than one of the designated landing zones.
The commotion inevitably drew some attention from vehicles passing by, with many stopping to observe what was going on.
Andrew Gobin is a reporter with the See-Yaht-Sub, a publication of the Tulalip Tribes Communications Department.
Phone: (360) 716.4188