July 17, 2008

Copter Training Drills Scheduled at Hospital

SOUTH KINGSTOWN -- Rhode Island National Guard helicopters will land atop South County Hospital today and next week as part of an emergency training drill.

The pilots will land twice in the late afternoon and once around 9 p.m.

"It's a way for the pilots and crews to become familiar with the helipads and hospitals in the event of an emergency like a hurricane," said National Guard pilot instructor Frank Puleo.

Because the National Guardsmen are part-time soldiers, they need to become familiar with the area hospitals every year, Puleo said. Six different pilots and crews will participate in the drills, which began last night, continue today and resume next Thursday.

The helicopters could be used to treat residents during a disaster, or be used as part of a large-scale evacuation, Puleo said. They could also be used by the governor and military officials to survey damage done by hurricanes, he said.


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