CLEARWATER TRIBUNE HOME

MAY 13, 2010

Orofino Chamber of Commerce

Back Country Medics on the job in the remotest of places

Howard Weeks (left) of C-PTPA and Nick Albers (right) of Back Country Medics visited the Chamber of Commerce to fill them in on all the details about Back Country Medics.    Nick Albers, along with Ilena Dennison, Steve Laws, and Howard Weeks, were guests of the Chamber May 5, representing Back Country Medics (BCM), a critical care, emergency air ambulance. The company uses helicopters to respond to people who are injured and stranded in remote, back country locations. Mr. Weeks represents C-PTPA who has worked in cooperation with BCM.

   The air ambulance service was the first medical ambulance in Idaho and is one of five units presently in the state “The Company started in the mid 70’s when logging was in full swing,” said Albers, “and it was an era of a lot of accidents.” In those days, if a logging accident occurred in a remote area, the injured person had to be hauled out by a truck to the nearest medical facility. Albers said that people did not always survive without the immediate medical attention that was needed.

   In the early days of the company, they had to use rubber backpacks and glass IV bottles. Nowadays, they have the most sophisticated medical equipment available including a stretcher that cost $48,500. In 2006, they were licensed as an intermediate level, pre-hospital critical care unit.

   The helicopter seats two people in front, the patient, and two attendants. The service is operated with an all-volunteer crew, and they are frequently called upon to go into areas where other services are unable to go. A rescue operation may require them to park the helicopter in one location, and the team to have to hike several miles back to get to a patient.

   Sheriff Goetz, also on hand, stated that Back Country Medic pilots and crew know the back country extremely well; they know the mountains and the drainages. Goetz said there are some real benefits to that kind of knowledge.

Political candidates

   Clel Fay, of District 2, running for Clearwater County Commissioner and Sheryl Nuxoll, running for the Idaho State Senate in District 8, introduced themselves to members of the chamber.

   Judge Michael J. Griffin was also a guest at the meeting. He is running for District Judge.

New members

   Fords Creek Pump Service and Glenwood IGA are the two newest members welcomed to the chamber.

Business after hours

   The next Business after Hours get-together will be held at Brookside Landing, Thursday, May 13, between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Next meeting

   Mr. Howard Weeks of C-PTPA will visit at the next regular meeting. The meeting is scheduled for May 19, at 12 noon, at the Ponderosa Restaurant.