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Standardization and proficiency training are keys to safe capable helicopter search and rescue operations. All crew members should be trained to the point where actions are executed almost without thinking. As one SAR Trainer puts is, “If you have to think, we’ve got a problem.”

rescue protocol a helicopter simply hov- ered over a rescue victim and dropped a basket that the victim had to climb into before they could be evacuated to the nearest treatment center.

Butch Flythe, U.S. Coast Guard, re- tired, was in the first class to be certified as rescue swimmers. “That is easily the biggest change in search and rescue that has occurred over the past 35 years,” says Flythe. “It enabled rescuers to help the victim into the helicopter so they weren’t left to their own resources.” The U.S. Coast Guard is the primary search and res- cue organization in the world, saving thousands of lives and helping thousands of people each year on the high seas and coastal areas of the United States.

Kingdom for global helicopter provider CHC. Johnson is responsible for stan- dards and training for the organization. His team deploys an average of 250 mis- sions a year from each of two bases in the North Sea (Stornaway and Sumburgh, The Shetlands) and two others on the Eng- lish Channel (Lee-on-Solent and Portland in Dorset). “Today, with our delivery ve- hicles operating faster, longer, higher, stronger, we can fly in worse weather con- ditions, get in faster, get out faster, and save more lives.”

Break-Through With Rescue Swimmers

Perhaps one of the most significant ad- vancements made in search and rescue doesn’t involve transport or technology, but people. In 1985 the U.S. Coast Guard began a program to train rescue swimmers to be inserted into distress situations and deliver emergency treatment on-site to in- jured victims, secure them in a litter for extraction, and provide medical treatment during transport. Prior to this change in


On location in Abu Dhabi, rescue swimmer Bob Watson descends. Rescue swimmers must meet strenuous physical fitness standards including demonstrating a free swim for 30 minutes in heavy seas. Retired U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer Butch Flythe credits the program, initiated by the Coast Guard in the early 1980’s, with being a key advancement in search and rescue techniques. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52
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