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Air St. Luke's in the Community

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By Alexa Tieu

Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV) Air ambulance services are essential for hospital operations in our area.

Air St. Luke's is the medical air transportation unit which houses one of its bases here in Twin Falls.

"Air St. Luke's is an Idaho company. We're based out of Idaho, predominantly Boise, and then our division here in Twin Falls is a division of St. Luke's," says Stan Flint, flight paramedic with Air St. Luke's.

Air St. Luke's can pick up patients from anywhere in Idaho, Oregon or Nevada.

A three-person crew must be on duty at all times.

Tim Allen, flight pilot for Air St. Luke's says, "The pilots, we work 7 days on, 7 days off and we do 12 hour shifts."

Paramedics and nurses with Air St. Luke's work full 12 or 24-hour shifts.

Because of this, each person has their own sleeping quarters.

"The have a place for us where we have a bed, computers and a place for us to rest," says Allen.

While air ambulance services are typically designed to save lives, they're also available to local communities to provide training sessions for fire and rescue.

Bruce Brown, a firefighter with West End Fire and Rescue says, "They train us. It's called the LZ training, LZ class. Landing Zone Officers. So if there's a wreck out on the interstate or anywhere they have to come down, we know how to set up their perimeter for them to come down."

During training sessions, a landing zone officer is designated so crews can have a specific contact on the ground.

"They'll set up a landing zone for us. Set up some lights if it's dark and make a nice 'U' for us so we can land in the U," says Kenna Olmstead, flight nurse for Air St. Luke's.

Brown says, "We just set up the perimeter. The cones a hundred feet apart and stand with our backs to the wind so they know which direction the wind's coming from."

It's important for the pilot to avoid landing away from the wind because it is essential when the crew is trying to lift off.

"It's not a matter of whether it will generate lift, it's actually unsafe to do so. It can actually cause the aircraft to lose power and drop to the ground," says Flint.

And taking off is important when in the business of saving lives.

Membership services for any air medical transportation organization costs between fifty and sixty dollars a year.


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