Addition Of Medical Helicopter In Vail A Huge Help

The following news clip and article were published on CBSDenver.com on January 16 2012.

 

The death of a skier at Silverton Mountain Ski Resort onSaturday is a reminder that skiing can be dangerous and January isSki Safety Month across the nation.

Beaver Creek held a one-of-a-kind demonstration on ski safety onSunday. Some people were shocked when medical helicopter landedright in the middle of Beaver Creek.

"You don't see a helicopter land in the middle of a mountainevery day" a skier said.

It was that kind of shock value that Beaver Creek wanted toportray as it kicked off Safety Week.

"It's an opportunity for Beaver Creek to really showcase oursafety programs educate people and talk about the importantaspects of your responsibility code" Jen Brown with Beaver CreekResort said.

It was the first time the CareFlight helicopter has been a partof a demonstration. The medical chopper is a recent addition to theVail Valley which used to have unreliable service for majormedical episodes.

"It's always nice to know that if there was an issue that weneeded to evacuate a patient we can call CareFlight and they'll behere in a matter of minutes and get them to a medical facility"Addy McCord with Beaver Creek Ski Patrol said.

But a majority of the helicopter's work is not related to skieraccidents.

"If somebody needs to have a stint put in after a heart attackCareFlight being right here takes them to one of our partnersdown in Denver and they can get them to a specialized cardiacsurgery unit as quickly as we can" Lindsay Warner with Vail ValleyMedical Center said. "Every minute counts with their survivalrates."

It's been reported that skier injuries are up this year becauseof the dry winter so far but as Safety Week gets under way CBS4learned that's not necessarily the case in Eagle County.

"We're seeing a little bit different injuries. Instead of brokenlegs we're seeing broken hands from falling with less powder andthings like that" Warner said.

"We have not seen an increase of injuries here at Beaver Creek"McCord said.

The helicopter is based in Gypsum quite a few miles down theroad. But because of a partnership with the hospital in Vail it'sstationed there right along Interstate 70 every day drasticallyreducing response times.

The medical helicopter also works with specially trained dogs aspart of avalanche training.