Chapman School kids get up close look at LifeMed helicopter

Have you ever peered into the sky as a helicopter went by, trying to discern whether it was from the Alaska Division of Forestry, LifeMed, or just a group of tourists on their way to see some bears? Ever wondered what exactly goes on in those winged machines? The students of Chapman School in Anchor Point can now tell you the details of a LifeMed helicopter, after getting a tour of one last month.

As a treat during one of the last weeks before school got out for the summer, Chapman Principal Conrad Woodhead gave his students a fire drill that was a little out of the ordinary. Instead of piling out of the building, waiting for a few minutes, and then filing back in, the students got an up-close and in-depth look at a LifeMed helicopter based in Soldotna.

The helicopter flew to Anchor Point and landed in the field behind the school, unbeknownst to the students. When the fire drill drove them outside, they were greeted by the site of the aircraft and three professionals that came with it: pilot Dominic Kuntz, paramedic Wes Raley and nurse Dave Skidmore.

The three men answered questions from the crowd of young ones about their jobs, how the helicopter flies, and more. Then, one by one, the kids got to clamber up into the aircraft for a peek at its inner workings.

This demonstration has never been done before. Woodhead said the Anchor Point Fire and Emergency Services comes to the school each year to do some kind of demonstration, like a live fire. This year, Woodhead coordinated with LifeMed in order to secure a trip down to Anchor Point.

Anchor Point Fire and Emergency Services was also present at the school.

Woodhead said he hoped to give his students a fun demonstration, and that it would also potentially inspire some of them to pursue the emergency medical field in the future. Anchor Point Fire and Emergency Services Chief Al Terry said recruiting people to its force can be difficult, especially locally. He agreed that it would be positive if the demonstration ignited an interest in the EMS field in any of the students.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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