By Nathaniel Smith
The staffs of Grand County Emergency Medical Services and Moab Regional Hospital recently received valuable hands-on training thanks to Classic Air Medical. While most Moabites likely associate Classic Air Medical with lifesaving helicopter flights, health education is major part of the company’s role in the communities it serves.
Last week, Classic brought its mobile Intensive Care Simulations Lab to Moab and provided training, free of charge, to many of the community’s medical professionals. The traveling training trailer contains a computerized, high fidelity simulation mannequin that can be used to replicate a wide variety of medical scenarios. Classic transports the trailer to all its bases in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico for about a month each visit. During the visits, Classic staff or medical professionals from the area can take advantage of the training.
Craig Campbell, flight nurse and regional public relations representative for Classic, described the range of scenarios that the training can simulate. From basic skills such as practicing how to insert an IV to emergency situations like a drug overdose, the technology in the trailer has a multitude of uses. Due to its versatility, the training can be beneficial for everyone from nursing students to physicians, Campbell said.
Classic wants to “bring a resource to these communities and people can learn or practice whatever they want,” Campbell said. “We’re prepared with whatever they want, but we don’t have a set agenda.”
Campbell focused on the community-driven aspect of the training. “We want to tailor it to what the community wants and needs,” he said.
He also detailed the advantages of the hands-on approach. While one can learn about and discuss medical scenarios in a more traditional classroom setting, direct experience has the potential to be far more meaningful.
“You can sit in a classroom and learn these things. You can maybe even go through scenarios and talk about what you would do,” Campbell said. “But to be able to have the equipment and a mannequin that simulates a person as best as we can with technology is just much more valuable. It connects your thinking to your muscle memory.”
Regarding the accuracy of the simulations, Campbell said, “It’s as close as we can get with what we can afford.” Explaining the reasoning for Classic not to charge for the training, Campbell said: “It’s part of our outreach. We like to be a part of communities that we’re in. It’s kind of a way of giving back.” He stressed that it is very important for Classic to be part of the communities it serves.
Classic Air established its base in Moab just over five years ago. “It took a little while” for Classic to integrate into the Moab community, Campbell said. Now, “they’ve really accepted us,” he said, “we have a great relationship.”
Campbell expressed Classic’s pride that Moabites immediately recognize their helicopter. The colorful yellow, red and blue aircraft that Classic bases in Moab has essentially become a fixture of the community. Though the helicopter and its crew are most needed at accidents with significant injuries or nerve-wracking rescues, it is frequently spotted at more enjoyable events as well, such as delivering the game ball before a Grand County High football game.
Classic Air Medical began as Classic Tour Helicopters, a scenic flight service operating around Bryce Canyon National Park. The National Park Service began chartering Classic for air medical evacuation services. In 1988, Classic Air Medical officially began with a helicopter and specialized crew dedicated to medical services. Over the past 30 years, Classic has expanded from its origin as a seasonal service assisting the NPS to providing emergency air medical transport services for hospitals throughout the intermountain West.