MOUNTAIN PINE, Ark. (KTHV) - Arkansas National Guard soldiers are preparing for mass casualties for here at home and overseas. At today's training in Mountain Pine they're learning how to load patients into a helicopter correctly and efficiently.
Around 30 soldiers are taking their skills to the next level. "A lot of times we have to load patients to higher echelons of care so we will have to evacuate them to some air ambulances." Commander Eva Weatherley is with the 296th ground ambulance company. The soldiers are learning techniques on how to take their patients off the ground and transport them via helicopters.
The 238th air ambulance company based on Camp Robinson in North Little Rock is working with the Hot Springs guardsmen. Chief Christopher Red is a medi-vac pilot and brought out a black hawk helicopter to give the trainees real life experience. Chief red says they are using two different types of training methods for the national guardsmen, a hot load and a cold load. In a cold load training method the helicopter engine is off in a hot load is when they are on. First, soldiers strapped a volunteer on a stretcher then they secured them in the helicopter. "The adrenaline gets up with the engine running and the blades turning because that's how it's going to be in a real life situation." Chief Red says today is all about getting the guardsmen prepared and not putting a time limit on getting a patient from a ground ambulance to an air ambulance. Many of these soldiers have served overseas in Irag and Afghanistan.