Kentucky emergency service professionals trained on search-and-rescue operations and other accident scenarios during the second annual Kentucky ATV and Rescue R&D Weekend in October at the Knott County ATV and Motorcycle Rider Training Center.
Participants trained on coordinated use of medical helicopters to assist ground teams in locating an accident scene. Several states maintain a fleet of aircraft for search-and-rescue missions, but Kentucky's medical helipcopters are primarily used for medical evacuation from a landing zone after the patient has been located. Search areas may cover thousands of acres across varying terrain. Ground searches can take hours or even days. But with airborne assistance from PHI Medical and Air Methods medical helicopter crews, rescuers were guided to simulated ATV accident scenes in minutes.
The emergency responders worked on rescue scenarios from actual off-road accident reports and other topics identified as vital to improving response and evacuation times. Lessons learned during the two-day event will be incorporated into the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Farm and Home Safety Program and ATV safety and rescue classes taught to responders statewide.
A total of 24 emergency responders participated in the Kentucky ATV Safety and Rescue R&D Weekend. Organizations represented at the event included the Knott County ATV and Motorcycle Rider Training Center, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Farm and Home Safety Program, IIIEmergency Equipment, PHI Medical and Air Methods medical helicopter services, Elizabethtown Fire / Rescue, LaRue County Fire / Rescue, Lexington Fire & EMS, Hazard Fire / Rescue, Salyersville Fire / Rescue, the Grapevine- Chavies Rhino ResQ Team and the newly formed Knott County ATV Trail Riders ResQ Team.
Kentucky was third in the nation in ATV-related fatalities during 2005-2007 with 114, trailing only West Virginia (143) and Florida (123), according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Kentucky led the nation in ATV deaths for many years. Emergency service professionals from throughout Kentucky have been working together for almost five years to reduce the number of ATV accidents in Kentucky and improve the effectiveness of rescuers who respond to accidents.
Top: Participants practice safely removing a donated ATV from the rider. Middle: Equipment's Emergency Res-Q team arrives at the landing zone with a patient. Bottom: The Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Farm and Home Safety Program trailer with an array of all-terrain and utility vehicles. (photos courtesy of Mike Brady)