SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WAFF) -Responding to emergencies in rural areas across the Tennessee Valley is a challenge. Every year helicopters save lives!
In a matter of minutes, an Axxeum Aviation Operations helicopter was able to dump water over trees. It was part of a demonstration at Goose Pond Colony showing the helicopter’s ability to respond to a fire.
“I know sometimes you see a lot of helicopters with little buckets and those do really well. However, with the tank system, we can be 75 percent more accurate and drop about 12,000 gallons of water in a four-hour span,” said Chief Pilot Brett Harlow. Equipment like a harness and hook can also be used during a search and rescue to get someone to safety.
Chief Pilot Brett Harlow said right now there aren’t enough helicopter operations in North Alabama. He said the company is located in Huntsville so they can assist agencies and respond quicker. Normally, ALEA officials are dispatched, and he said that can take up to 6 to 8 hours including the search.
“So what we like to call it in the industry is a forced multiplier, so we work with them we’re not working as a separate entity. We will actually work with them to help aid. Some agencies would have to call out four trucks and 30 guys and that’s four trucks and 30 people they’re not going to be able to use on a fire or something else,” said Harlow.
Scottsboro Rescue Squad Captain Eddie Tigue agrees. In fact, he recalled an emergency where he said they could have benefited from the helicopter.
“I think back to a call we had a few years ago at Walls of Jericho and it took us a couple of hours to get a lady out. With this, we could have her out in a very short amount of time and it would have been a lot easier on our guys and her too,” said Tigue.
Axxeum specializes in training once every three months and conducts mock demonstrations.
Senator Steve Livingston was also present at Sunday’s demonstration. He said he is thankful for the capabilities of the services Axxeum provides in efforts to assist first responders in North Alabama.