Offshore Rescue Helicopter from NHC Northern Helicopter Practices with Island Rescuers on Pellworm

Offshore Rescue Helicopter from NHC Northern Helicopter Practices with Island Rescuers on Pellworm

Press Photos: Group photo after successful exercise on Pellworm © NHC Northern Helicopter

Offshore Rescue Helicopter from NHC Northern Helicopter Practices with Island Rescuers on Pellworm

In the fall and winter months, when heavy storms sweep across Schleswig-Holstein, storm surges repeatedly occur on the offshore islands and Halligen. Between November and March alone, the Halligen experience up to 20 floods. If a medical emergency then occurs, a helicopter with a rescue hoist and equipment for emergency flights over the sea is usually needed for medical evacuation. However, even in the summer months, the offshore rescue helicopter, which Northern Helicopter GmbH keeps on hand in St. Peter-Ording for the offshore wind farms in the North Sea, is deployed several times. Due to its rescue hoist, it is on alert for water rescue, in the cases of drifted kitesurfers or mudflat walkers who have misjudged the tide and are cut off from land. The crew of the offshore rescue helicopter works in conjunction with and their missions are supported by rescue forces on the ground.

This is precisely why NHC Northern Helicopter regularly conducts exercises with the rescue forces on site. After Hallig Hooge and Hallig Langeneß in previous years, the exercises with the rescue forces took place on August 15 this year on the island of Pellworm. The aim of these exercises is to maintain the routine interaction of the rescue forces on the ground with the helicopter crew during operations with the rescue hoist.

The exercise began with a theoretical briefing at the fire department station. All participants were welcomed by the mayor of Pellworm, Astrid Korth. The CDU member of parliament, Michel Deckmann, also came to Pellworm to observe the rescue exercise. Actively involved were the firefighters of Pellworm, the local rescue service, the police, the rapid response group (SEG) and the Pellworm island doctors. The rescue forces on the ground practiced correct conduct and performance, e.g. when assisting the helicopter crew in loading a patient under a running helicopter rotor as well as the correct conduct during operations with the rescue hoist of the helicopter.

After this short introduction, all rescue forces were prepared for the practical exercise in a theoretical training session, followed by a Q & A for all participants.

In the meantime, the helicopter landed at the night landing site of Pellworm, where a final safety briefing was given by the helicopter crew. The emergency paramedic/HEMS-TC (Helicopter Emergency Medical Services Technical Crew Member) Sina Schlett gave a briefing on the rescue equipment on board the Northern Rescue 01 (NR01).

Under the observation of the mayor and the CDU member of the state parliament, the safe loading of a patient was trained with the rotor of the helicopter running. Then, the hoist training began. Hoisting up with the rescue harness and the rescue trousers were trained throughout several approaches of the offshore rescue helicopter. Afterwards, the rescue stretcher of the helicopter was used. In this procedure, the helicopter crew is supported by the rescuers on the ground with an anti-rotation line.

After the last run, all participants met again at the fire station. The rescue exercise was then debriefed over a proper barbecue, organized by the Pellworm Fire Department. All those involved agreed that the exercise contributed to the improved safety in the event of an emergency. As Member of Parliament for the West Coast of the CDU in the Schleswig-Holstein State Parliament, Michel Deckmann emphasized: “NHC Northern Helicopter makes an important contribution to disaster control on the West Coast. Regular exercises with the island or Hallig rescuers are of vital significance to being optimally prepared for the event of a crisis.” On behalf of NHC, Herbert Janssen, authorized signatory of NHC Northern Helicopter, thanked the fire department for the perfectly prepared exercise, the successful barbecue, and the professional conduct of those involved in the exercise. The mayor stressed how important it was that NHC Northern Helicopter provided island rescuers the opportunity for this joint exercise: “This training increases safety for island residents in land-under scenarios.”

NHC Northern Helicopter operates the offshore rescue helicopter around the clock at St. Peter-Ording airfield for the offshore wind industry in the North Sea. For these missions, the rescue helicopter is manned with an emergency paramedic, equipped with a rescue hoist and emergency swimmers for flying over sea. The emergency paramedic on board is a trained lifeguard. Especially for water rescue missions, the offshore rescue helicopter from St. Peter-Ording is the only helicopter on the west coast that can fly these missions with the aforementioned equipment and crew.


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Marion Frahm

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Press Photos: Group photo after successful exercise on Pellworm © C NHC Northern Helicopter