Care Flight pilot speaks to SIERA Club |

Care Flight pilot speaks to SIERA Club

Record Courier Staff Reports

A critically ill or injured person has a greater chance of survival if medical treatment is provided within that first hour.

Responding to life and death situations in the field, Care Flight helicopter pilot Art Vano presented information about the helicopter he pilots and the medical personnel that ride with him to members of Sierra Intermountain Emergency Radio Association and public at Carson Valley Medical Center helicopter station in Gardnerville.

Care Flight began in 1981 to provide emergency medical services and rescue to rural areas of northern Nevada and northeastern California. In 1986, Care Flight was transferred to the Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority.

There are three helicopters, one in Gardnerville, Reno and Truckee. The helicopters in Gardnerville and Reno are available 24 hours a day.

The helicopter in Truckee is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Responding to traffic accidents, search and rescue and hospital transfers the Care Flight helicopter has about a 150 mile radius; north to Susanville and Gerlach; out to Sand Mountain, east to Winnemucca, Battle Mountain and as far south as Tonopah.

“Besides the pilot we carry one nurse and one paramedic. Sometimes we will have two nurses if a paramedic is sick or there is a scheduling conflict. One of the medical personnel must be a registered nurse,” said Vano.

The helicopter is called an AStar and is made by Aerospace American Eurocopter with a turbine engine. It has a service ceiling of 23,000 feet and a speed of about 150 knots and will carry almost four hours worth of fuel. The helicopter could go just about anywhere and refuel but its main response is about a 150-mile radius. Patients are transported back to Washoe Medical Center, St. Mary’s, Northern Nevada Medical Center, Carson Tahoe Hospital and Veteran’s Hospital or anyplace their insurance requires them to go or they ask to go.

A heater in the helicopter keeps the cabin warm, and a bed built into the helicopter slides out to load the patient into the helicopter feet first. The patient is strapped into place beside the pilot with the patient’s head toward the back of the helicopter. The nurse sits behind the patient and is in the correct position to give any emergency medical treatment needed. The patient can be placed in the helicopter head first depending on the situation.

“If the patient is conscious and alert we can actually give them a head set and they can talk to the nurse, paramedic or the pilot and give them a little sight seeing tour and tell them what we are doing and where we are going,” said Vano.

The cost of transport starts from the point the patient is picked up to wherever they are going. If the helicopter is called to an emergency and it is determined transport is not necessary, there is no charge for coming out.

A new emergency helicopter Landing Zone was completed last summer, at the corners of Highways 208 and 395 in Holbrook Junction. The property was released from the Nevada Division of Transportation and the East Fork Fire and Paramedic Districts sponsored the project.

It didn’t take long for the pilot and medical personnel to lift off after receiving an emergency call to go to Yerington. The pilot started the engine and the helicopter lifted straight up; pretty soon it was out of sight on its way to help someone critically ill or injured.

— The Topaz Lodge and Casino Chili Cook-Off Arts and Craft Fair will take place, 10 a.m., to 5 p.m., April 9Ð10 in the northern parking lot adjacent to the General Store. Activities include Arts and crafts fair, live entertainment by Joanie Lee and Branding Iron, food booths, raffles, contests, and a bounce house. Proceeds will benefit Mason Valley Boys and Girls Club and Kids and Horses.

— The Douglas County Public Library continues its spring schedule of Family Stories on April 11, with the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle Show at 6:45 p.m. The once a month storytime is for families with children of all ages. Children may come dressed in PJ’s and bring a blanket or favorite stuffed animal. The program includes stories, fingerplays and poetry. For information call the library at 782-9841.

— The Topaz Ranch Estates General Improvement District Board meeting takes place on the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m., at the TRE Community Center. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend. The next meeting is April 13.

— Carolyn Purkiss can be reached at 266-9482 or by e-mail at