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April 19, 2011
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:

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Student training exercise involves LifeFlight helicopter

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – A LifeFlight helicopter from Pittsburgh’s Allegheny General Hospital will fly into Slippery Rock University air space and land on campus Monday, but there is no need for alarm. A medical pilot, paramedic and two flight nurses are coming to give 50 SRU safety management majors emergency-response training.
       “Students will get to see first-hand what a medical helicopter looks like, how nurses treat the patients and even what types of weather the pilot can and cannot fly in,” said Terry Lanchena, SRU instructor of safety management.
       The helicopter is scheduled to be on the Blasé Scarnati Marching Band Field from 3-6 p.m. The Slippery Rock Fire Department will be on hand with a fire engine to ensure the safety of students as the helicopter lands.
       Lanchena said the LifeFlight demonstration is part of a month-long focus in his “Emergency Management” class on emergency preparation and emergency resources available in communities. Students are studying emergency management procedures, evacuation, fire safety and medical intervention.
       “The programming is making students aware of the emergency resources and capabilities that are around them,” he said. “They will be able to utilize these skills when they are in the working world as safety managers and emergency management officials.”
        LifeFlight provides regional emergency helicopter and critical-care ground transportation services for critically ill and injured patients who need immediate care. The service is available 24/7. Eric Schmidt, outreach development coordinator, said LifeFlight has completed more than 60,000 missions, working side-by-side with emergency medical service providers. He said LifeFlight’s six helicopters transport patients to hospitals in western Pennsylvania, southeastern Ohio, northern West Virginia and western Maryland.
      Schmidt said 60 percent of flights involve patients who are critically injured or sick and need transport from one medical facility to another. The other 40 percent of responses involve trauma such as a car crash, shooting or medical emergencies such as a stroke.
       Schmidt said SRU students would receive valuable information about the use of helicopters in emergency response. “These folks are going to be working professionals, so they need to know about the gear and interacting with a LifeFlight crew and helicopter,” he said.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.