HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A medical helicopter will soon be based in South Mississippi, meaning faster response for patients who need to travel to Mobile, New Orleans or Hattiesburg for treatment.
On Wednesday, in Hancock County Sheriff's Deputies received training from Chief Flight Nurse for Oschner Health Care, Russell Shoultz to learn how to handle the aircrafts
The class is part of the sheriff's efforts to keep staff up-to-date on the newest techniques to keep the community safe.
"He was able to show our deputies the different safe areas. The danger areas of the different parts of the helicopter, what was good for the landing zone, what was not good for the landing zone," said Capt. Chris Russell with the Hancock County Sheriff's Office.
With eight years of experience, Shoultz has flown on hundreds of patient missions and knows first hand the pitfalls associated with helicopters.
"Some of the main dangers associated with landing a helicopter at the scene of the emergency is flying debris. The rotor system itself creates a lot of wind. It can blow things around, things far from the helicopter," added Shoultz.
Shoultz also highlighted the advantages of helicopters; such as quickly transporting a seriously injured patient to the hospital outside of South Mississippi.
"So from Biloxi to New Orleans by ground, its at least an hour and a half. By air it's about 35 [minutes]," said Shoultz.
The class became interactive when the helicopter landed. Deputies were able to talk to crew members, check out the aircraft and walk away with a better knowledge of medical helicopters.
Since there is no medical helicopter currently based in South Mississippi, the response time for helicopters ranges from 20 to 40 minutes to get to the site of an emergency. Those response times are expected to be cut in half once a helicopter is based on the Coast.