Care Flight lands at Glenshire Elementary

Renee Shadforth

Students at Glenshire Elementary School got an up-close look at what it’s like to operate an emergency response vehicle when a fire truck, ambulance, police car and helicopter came to their school on Monday.

“A helicopter looks [small] from far away, but it’s huge up close,” said first-grader Luke Robbins, who had just walked up to touch the Care Flight helicopter.

The event began with a “shelter in place” drill, where teachers close their windows and doors and students remain where they are, as a Care Flight helicopter landed in their field.

“I really wanted to have [the students] experience and see what [the Care Flight pilots and paramedics] do for a living,” said fourth-grade teacher Don Schmidt. “[The students] see the helicopter fly over school all the time. Now they’ll get a different view.”

More than 400 students watched in awe as pilot Mike Evans told them about Care Flight’s A-Star – considered by helicopter enthusiasts as the “Rolls Royce of helicopters” – which cruises at about 130 mph with a top speed of 145 mph. The chopper can get from Truckee to Reno in seven to eight minutes, he said.

One student, kindergartner Sarah Svoboda, was surprised the emergency helicopter was blue.

“I thought it would be red, because most of them are red,” she said.

Evans estimated the “flying ambulance,” which has been stationed at Truckee Tahoe Airport since November, transports at least 100 patients per month. During the summer months, he said, he expects the number of emergencies to increase.

In addition to viewing the helicopter, many students saw the inside of a fire engine and got to sit inside an ambulance. A few students were place on a stretcher by Care Flight paramedics and loaded inside the helicopter.

Truckee Police Officer Roy Richner showed students the gear in the back of his sport utility vehicle, like a spike strip, a pepperball gun (“to scare away bears and bad guys,” Richner said) and snowshoes.

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