The Suffolk County Police Department’s medevac helicopter made a prearranged landing at High School East on Monday to teach biomedical science students from both high schools in the District about their work.
The Eurocopter EC145, with a pair of pilots and a medic on board, landed in a grass field adjacent to High School East’s main stadium as students and staff documented the arrival on their cell phones.
Once the helicopter had safely arrived and powered down, the police officers encouraged students to come closer.
The officers then explained that they most often respond to medical emergencies involving trauma, such as a car accident. After police on the ground cordon off the area so the helicopter can land, the crew can spring into action and whisk the injured person to Stony Brook University Hospital, the only Level 1 trauma unit in the county, which has a helipad with a ramp to the operating room.
The officers explained that a bigger advantage than being able to briskly transport someone to the hospital is being able to get the medic on the helicopter to the scene quickly to begin treatment.
The crew also responds to missing person’s calls, particularly involving elderly Alzeiheimer’s patients, as well as water rescues. It also responds to burglaries and police chases, the latter of which are unfortunately becoming more frequent, according to the officers.
Monday’s visit continues a close partnership between the Smithtown Central School District and the Suffolk County Police Department.
The 12-year-old Eurocopter EC145 currently answers about 300 calls annually, which is less than half the peak number of years ago. That’s because several trauma centers have opened over the years in the county, particularly on the South Shore, allowing for rapid ambulance transport.
The students learned that the helicopter is equipped with an infrared camera that can locate people because they emit body heat. The second pilot in the cockpit also can monitor a color camera that can zoom up to 18 times.
The helicopter can drop sticks into the water that inflate to assist a victim at risk of drowning.
The county soon will have a successor aircraft with even more state-of-the-art features, including the ability to have divers launch into the water.
Date Added: 4/11/2022