Air Evac team lands in Leachville

Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Leachville Fire Chief Richie Pace welcomes Air Evac team, Chris Mackey, event coordinator; Tommy Grooms, pilot; Tysha Keasler, nurse; and David Hollis, paramedic. (Town Crier photo/Nan Snider)

Air Evac Lifeteam medical specialists landed their emergency helicopter at the Leachville city park last Thursday and welcomed visitors to tour the the vehicle and meet personnel.

The event was planned to inform the community about emergency help, and co-ordinated by personnel of the Leachville Fire Department, Police Department and First Responders. The helicopter entered the park from the east, against the wind, and exited to the west.

The city ball park was used as a temporary secured landing zone. A permanent designated landing site is being prepared at Adams Gin, south of town, with a paved base, windsock indicator and marked power lines.

"Most people don't get a chance to meet the staff members or see the Air Evac helicopter land unless it is during an emergency," Fire Chief Richie Pace said. "We wanted to give people a chance to see how equipped and prepared these specialists are. We were pleased to see people come down to the park and look at the aircraft and talk about what they do."

The Air Evac Lifteam service prides itself in saying "When the worst happens....we'll be there for you." They are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and respond to 911 emergency calls.

"Seconds are important when there are life and death situations," Chris Mackey, event co-ordinator, said. "When you are faced with a medical emergency, your best hope for a good outcome rests in the ability to act quickly.

"When someone is having a heart attack, fast action is crucial. With each minute that passes, more heart tissue is deprived of oxygen and sustains greater damage. Blood flow must be restored within the first hour to improve chances of survival.

"After a serious car accident, possible conditions include head trauma, spinal injury, internal bleeding or fractures. The sooner the patient gets to the nearest emergency trauma center, the better the prognosis."

Mackey explained that Air Evac memberships could be obtained to pay for cost of using the service, which would entitle the user to emergency and transport services, and skilled nurse and paramedic staff help en route.

"We serve 12 counties with this aircraft and are located off Highway 18, west of Lake City." Mackey said. "All the cities on Buffalo Island use our services, and we work with ground transport ambulances. There are 61 Air Evac transports in 11 states, with our main headquarters in West Plains, Mo."

Emergency personnel onboard the aircraft included pilot Tommy Grooms, nurse Tysha Keasler, and paramedic David Hollis. Visitors were allowed to look inside the aircraft and ask questions of the Air Evac specialists.

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