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Fire drill draws crowd

by Mary Le Arneal
published 10/29/08

The North Bend Fire Department brought a little excitement to the area Monday night, Oct. 20.

Cub Scouts, children of all ages and adults stood around the water tower in the west end of town waiting for a planned helicopter arrival. A little after 7 p.m. North Bend Fire Department trucks arrived with lights flashing. Parking at the corners on the block north of the water tower, the fire fighters, dressed in full uniform, prepared to secure the area for the helicopter’s landing and set up a strobe light to guide the helicopter to its landing site.

Soon the cry went up as the soft whirl of the helicopter blades could be heard as the moving light appeared in the sky.

The helicopter was the LifeNet 1 from University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. It is their biggest helicopter, able to carry two patients, and is on call 24 hours a day. It was on the ground one hour, giving the fire fighters their practice time and giving the public an opportunity to see the inside of the craft.

Fourteen firefighters from NBFD participated in the drill. After they were briefed, the public was given a chance to tour the helicopter.

“The purpose of the drill was to practice setting up and to secure the landing zone for fire and rescue, law enforcement and public safety,” fire chief Kevin Dubbs said. “We do this every time we call in a helicopter.”
Dubbs was pleased with the support from the community.

“We were very surprised at the large turn out,” Dubbs said. “We would like to thank the public for helping us out for the crowed control part of the drill and hope they enjoyed it.”

Dubbs said the skills practiced in the drill are ones the fire department would use when they call in the helicopter for car crashes, falls of 20 feet or greater for adults, or falls of twice the height of children.

“When we start the new 12-lead monitor program we could be calling it in for possible heart attacks and stroke,” Dubbs said.

The new program will connect the fire department with the emergency physician at Fremont Area Medical Center that would allow evaluation of possible heart patients before the reach the hospital setting.

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