The Sisters Eagle Airport hosted live helicopter training for Camp Sherman Hasty Team volunteers last Saturday. Joined by Life Flight from the Redmond Airport and Jefferson County Emergency managers, SAR team volunteers learned about aircraft operations related to search and rescue scenarios.

The training included instruction on basic operating practice in and around a helicopter. Volunteers learned about the situations in which a helicopter would be needed and what that response would entail. Life Flight’s Redmond base manager and flight paramedic, Victor Walco, led the training session and answered questions. Following a classroom session, the team joined an active Life Flight crew who flew in from Redmond for the hands-on training portion.

The Camp Sherman Hasty Team was founded in 1995 by former Jefferson County deputy Mark Foster, and is managed under Sergeant David Pond, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office emergency manager. Composed of volunteers, the team includes a variety of members throughout Sisters Country and the Camp Sherman area. Under the Jefferson County jurisdiction, the Hasty Team responds primarily to incidents within the Metolius River Basin, east slopes of the Cascades, and areas of the Pacific Crest Trail.

“What’s special about that part of the Cascades is how remote it is,” said Pond. “We see a lot of visitors and receive a lot of calls out there, and that’s why our team is primarily based from the Camp Sherman area.”

Hasty Team members train monthly in all aspects of search and rescue, including operations with helicopter rescues should the situation call for it. The coordinated training with Life Flight provided crucial insight to the basics of operating near a “hot LZ” — helicopter blades are spinning — and what loading patients and SAR members would involve.

The Life Flight crew and SAR team had the opportunity to load simulated patients into the aircraft utilizing a variety of methods, and learned first-hand from the flight crew how to effectively communicate with them. Depending on the scenario and terrain, some SAR team members may have to deliver patients in precarious conditions, and they have to be familiar with landing zone operations for it to run smoothly and timely.

“The value of this training is to speed up our efficiency in transferring patients from remote areas and getting them out for immediate treatment,” said Pond.

Pond also says the partnership with Life Flight is a valuable one and a valuable resource in their operation.

“Sometimes its a matter of life and death,” he said. “This is really important and crucial training.”