News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, September 26, 2013
LifeFlight touches down at Surry Fire Department
Demonstrates emergency response at open house

Surry Fire Dept. open house Life Flight helicopter

A Life Flight helicopter touched down at the Surry Fire Department for a training demonstration on September 21. Those attending the department’s open house had the chance to see and participate in a simulated emergency response.

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

The Surry Fire Department may hold an open house every year, but the crowd at the station house on September 21 received something extra—a live demonstration of LifeFlight of Maine, which touched down at 2:40 p.m. for a quick training session with firefighters.

Besides an inside view of the helicopter’s cockpit and its emergency medical equipment, onlookers helped firefighters load a “victim” from the ground onto a transport gurney and into the helicopter.

The whole operation was completed in minutes.

LifeFlight’s John Tierney coordinated the emergency response demonstration.

“Just got a call, so we’ll have to leave,” Tierney said. “We’re doing a weather check for the area as we speak.”

The open house featured more hands-on activities than just the LifeFlight demo. Fire trucks, an ambulance and a wrecker opened their doors to allow children to climb inside, and climb on board Engine 2 and Tanker Truck 3 for rides.

What’s the best part of a ride on a fire truck? “Honking the air horn,” said Alex Carlson.

Volunteer firefighters—such as Jeff Grantham, who’s been helping kids onto fire trucks since 1999—coordinated rides, cleared the grounds for the LifeFlight landing, demonstrated equipment and threw a barbecue.

“We hold an open house every year,” said Lieutenant Richard Black, Assistant Chief of the Surry Fire Department. “It’s mostly for the community. We try to do a lot with the kids.”

Gary Beal, chairman of the open house, said one of the department’s community goals is to purchase smoke alarms for Surry children.

“A lot of funds we’re trying to raise are going to children’s fire prevention,” Beal said.

Toward that effort, the open house featured a silent auction, and raffle ticket sales that are still ongoing.

Beal commended firefighters Bill Mulhern, Jeff Grantham, Reggie Winslow, Dick Mulhern, Fred Allen, Greg Beal, Darren Robinson, Josh Murray, Mark Wark, Sandra Rhodes, Liz Volkwein and Lu Hall “for their professionalism and efforts.”