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NCH wins safety award for helicopter simulation

April 4, 2019

Longtime Flight For Life partnership continues to save lives in emergencies

Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) received the Partners in Safety Award from Flight For Life-McHenry Base for executing a full-scale emergency drill last October that simulated a helicopter hard landing. 

“Flight For Life-McHenry has never participated in a drill that was as well put together and organized as this one,” says Flight For Life-McHenry Base Safety Chairman Scott Anderson. “It clearly demonstrated what could happen in the event of an aircraft emergency on a rooftop helipad. “This truly was a full-scale exercise where the hospital and fire department were involved in extrication, patient treatment and decontamination. This allowed the hospital and fire department to evaluate their policies and procedures in a more effective and useful manner.”

Flight For Life developed the award in 2015 as a way to acknowledge a specific facility, organization or department’s dedication to safety and “above and beyond” efforts to ensure the continued safety of FFL’s patients, crew and aircraft.

The Arlington Heights Fire Department played a major role in responding and working with the hospital employees as well as testing their procedures and protocols so they would be prepared in the unlikely event of a real emergency.

“Hospitals can be impacted by many types of emergency incidents and being prepared is the key,” John Mayer, NCH Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, says. “This exercise allowed us to test many of our operational plans and coordination with the Arlington Heights Fire Department.”

Arlington Heights Fire Chief Andrew Larson stated, “While training is an ongoing process for our firefighters, collaborative training with other agencies and community partners provides a valuable opportunity to hone our ability to work as a multi-organizational team. There is great value in coming together to train and drill on emergency scenarios so that any incidents that occur can be handled in a coordinated, effective manner.”