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Dare County EMS Medflight Training

Post Date:01/26/2017 8:39 a.m.
Dare County EMS Dunker TrainingThe County's medevac program, Dare Medflight, is one of the wide range of services provided by Dare County Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Training for Medflight’s pilots, paramedics and mechanics is comprehensive and on-going.  

The recently conducted “Dunker Training” is a lifesaving course for personnel who work or travel over water in helicopters. The focus of the training is to provide knowledge and skills necessary to react to on-board emergencies that involve ditching of aircraft and to successfully perform underwater egress from the aircraft. Providers also learned  how to care for themselves in sea survival situations. 


The training session provided for a mock helicopter crash, including being engulfed in complete darkness.  Most of a helicopter’s weight (the engine, transmission, rotor blades) are on top of the aircraft, so it tends to roll over in a water ditching environment. The training was provided in a controlled and safe environment so students learn and build confidence in the skills necessary to save themselves and other passengers.


In 1975, Dare County purchased its first Bell 47 helicopter.  It was used by the Sheriff's Office for searches and air support.  The majority of the helicopter's work was law enforcement related and it was not used to transport patients. 

In 1979, a Bell UH-1 Huey helicopter was placed in service, emergencies would occasionally be responded to, and patients began to be transported utilizing a volunteer crew consisting of EMTs, doctors or nurses. 

In 1986, the County’s first official "medical" helicopter, a BK117, was purchased.  The pilots were assigned to the relatively new EMS Department and the medical crew was now full-time paid staff. 

Present day, Dare Medflight’s program has continued to mature and now operates a state of the art Airbus H-145 helicopter staffed with highly trained pilots and paramedics, supported by two full-time expert helicopter mechanics and championed by departmental leadership, Dare County government and the Dare County Board of Commissioners.  

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