posted on March 06, 2013 19:14
HELI-EXPO 2013, Las Vegas - A three-person crew of emergency medical technicians/firefighters hired to provide emergency response services for HELI-EXPO 2013 flights were the first to respond to a traffic accident that took place at the entrance to the Las Vegas Convention Center on Wednesday, March 6.
Captain Gary McBride and firefighter/emergency medical technicians John Bartholomew and Zohrab Markosyan are employees of Advanced Fire and Rescue, which has for years provided emergency services for the temporary heliport operations established for HELI-EXPO® fly-in, fly-out, and demo flights. At 10:51 a.m. on Wednesday, the three firefighters were observing a helicopter about to land when approximately 150 yards away, two vehicles collided at the entrance to the Las Vegas Convention Center.
“We couldn’t go right away because we had a hot bird in the air,” says Bartholomew. “Our first responsibility is to monitor the HELI-EXPO flights, and we couldn’t do anything until that helicopter was secure.”
Advanced Fire & Rescue Services has provided emergency services for HELI-EXPO flight operations for several years with never a call – until Wednesday, when firefighters/EMTs Zohrab Markosyan (left), Captain Gary McBride (center), and John Bartholomew responded to an automobile accident near the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Once the helicopter landed, Bartholomew stayed on site and continued to monitor HELI-EXPO flights, while McBride and Markosyan drove their rig the short distance to the accident. They then performed triage on the drivers involved while waiting for the Las Vegas city first responders to arrive.
“The injuries were minor – some cuts from broken glass to one of the drivers,” says McBride. “Once the city crew showed up, we hauled back to the convention center to continue our job.” The crew is responsible for any emergency services needed while the aircraft are in their visual range.
Although Advanced Fire and Rescue has provided emergency response services to HELI-EXPO for a number of years, they had never responded to an aviation incident while on duty at the show. “The HELI-EXPO flight operations people give us training every year on the helicopters that will be flying in and out – when and how to approach them, how to open them, what to avoid if we did need to respond. They are very thorough in their approach to safety. And we have never had an incident,” says McBride.