02:45 AM

Local fire departments train with specialized helicopter service

A helicopter could be seen taking off and landing several times at St. Francois State Park one recent evening and it left many with questions of what was taking place.

Big River Fire Chief Dave Pratte said they seemed to have attracted a crowd of onlookers who came by to watch different departments train. 

The helicopter, Kids Flight 1, based at Parkland Health Center-Liberty, flies children and teens to children's hospitals in the region. 

"It was a double training. We were getting a lot of our people oriented with their helicopter and the way they load the patients," said Pratte, "plus their people were able to get oriented with how the fire departments set up landing zones."

Kids Flight 1 is from Children's Mercy and is stationed in Farmington. There is also an ambulance stationed at the hospital designed and equipped specifically for treating children as well. Pratte said that the helicopter has been the area for a while but was only used to transport patients from the hospital, but will now be picking up patients at accident scenes and other temporary landing zones.

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