Joint Riverside Fire, Centralia ARES and Airlift Northwest Training Exercise


Airlift Northwest Medical Helicopter

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Emergency Coordinator Bob Willey

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Centralia Amateur Radio Emergency Services Team

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Riverside Fire’s Command Vehicle and Aid Unit

One hour before our planned joint training exercise the weather closed in with extremely heavy rain, thunder and lightening. At the last minute we deployed against all odds and the weather cleared with just enough of a window to launch the aircraft. Twenty Riverside Fire personnel and twenty Centralia ARES volunteers participated. Riverside Fire (RFA) toned out to a simulated motor vehicle crash where all four occupants were ejected from the vehicle. After locating the victims, RFA stabilized the patients and transported to the emergency landing zone in Centralia.

Centralia ARES meanwhile, began setting up the emergency helicopter landing zone.  When RFA and Airlift Northwest arrived at the landing zone, the ARES team was ready and communicating with the helicopter pilot, talked them down to the LZ. Both teams got a chance to practice patient transfer into the helicopter and the helicopter crew spent almost an hour answering questions and giving us a close up view of the aircraft.

Centralia ARES was able to test the communications capabilities of our new Comm Vehicle, designated “Comm II” which worked flawlessly. Police Chief Bob Berg and Fire Chief Mike Kytta were also present and participated in the activities. It was an enjoyable and fun exercise. Here are a couple of photos taken by our team photographer, Teresa Haymaker.


The Next Centralia ARES Project?


AK1NS ARES Response Trailer

Remember the training session when I introduced you to Dave Akins, AK1NS from Nassau County ARES in New York?   Remember his ARES response trailer we looked at on his website?

While not quite as fancy (yet) as Dave’s trailer, team member Jim Nodell has offered a “diamond in the ruff” as a project.  A few hurdles to jump over yet but expect to see and hear more about this in the near future!


Centralia ARES Emergency Response Trailer?

Dry Run For Airlift Northwest Helicopter Drill May 18th


Team briefing by ARES Emergency Coordinator

This week, Centralia ARES conducted a final dry run of all procedures required to safely bring the Airlift Northwest helicopter to our landing zone.  After a team briefing,  Comm II, our new communications vehicle was set up near the landing zone and all necessary comms were checked.  The landing zone team measured out the 100 x 100′ landing zone, established compass directions and determined wind direction.  Assignments were handed out and safety procedures discussed.  Team members were checked for proper eye protection, hearing protection and ARES reflective vests.


Chuck, W5KAV, Communications Supervisor

On Monday, May 11th, we will notify homes and businesses next to the landing zone of the impending drill and attempt to smooth out any local concerns over noise, animals, kids, etc.  After that, it is just a matter of waiting for the real event and hoping Mother Nature will smile on our drill.

Airlift Northwest provides a great video on helicopter landing zone procedures which was sent to all team members.  You can view the video here:

Over the last two months, our team has reviewed helicopter landing zone procedures, safety procedures, standardized communications frequencies, determined a timeline with Riverside Fire Authority, gathered LZ equipment and practiced putting it all together.  We believe we are as ready as we can be.  This should be a great drill!


Landing Zone Assignment Briefing

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