Written by MHS student Jewels Onken and MHS Instructor Mike Hendricks.
There was an unusual vehicle found parking in the band lot at 8:35 in the morning at the Martinsville High
School this past Wednesday morning, but for the 28 juniors and seniors watching it arrive along with a handful
of adults, for many of them the joy of watching IU Health LifeLine Helicopter landing at the school was almost
as exciting as getting their learner’s permit to drive.
The LifeLine crew were invited to the High School as part of the training curriculum for the Vocational Law
Enforcement and EMT training programs. While the two programs are each unique in their course contents,
the fact that they both are public safety focused means much of material concerning medical care and scene
safety overlaps. This provides ample opportunity for Vocational teachers Kenny Murphy and Mike Hendricks
to pool their resources and combine the two classes so they can teach together. The learning objectives this
morning were a combination of trauma management and landing zone safety.
The morning started off at 07:45 with both classes meeting in the school auditorium being briefed by LifeLine
crew member Shawn McClaughry on when and how to summon a medical helicopter to the scene of an
emergency, how to select a safe landing area and set up a proper landing zone, how to communicate with the
aircraft crew, and how to safely assist the crew once they are on the ground with the transfer and loading of
the patient into the helicopter. Near the end of the briefing at 08:22, McClaughry received notification from
the flight crew the helicopter was leaving the helipad in Indianapolis. McClaughry answered a few last
questions and both classes filed out of the building toward the Band Lot to find the helicopter circling
overhead preparing to land, just 10 minutes from leaving downtown Indianapolis.
After safely landing, pilot Jay Burleson and flight medic Eric Shaughnessy provided the group with a guided
tour of the specialized equipment and supplies kept on the medical helicopter. Facts about typical airspeed,
flight times, fuel load, weight limits, and more were expertly explained to the group by the crew while the
students were allowed to climb into the aircraft and sit in the seats, look at the equipment, and pose for
photographs. After the group tour, the flight crew gave a demonstration on how to assist the flight team with
safely loading a patient into the aircraft.
At the conclusion of the tour, the flight crew demonstrated how they perform a visual inspection of the
aircraft in preparation for takeoff, looking for any compartments left unlatched, or debris or equipment
unintentionally left where it would get blown around and damage the helicopter or possibly hurt someone on
the ground. After the classes returned inside, school administrator Ryan Wagner stated, “Wow! These guys
have exceeded all of our expectations for these two programs. I can’t wait to see what they bring in here
next!” Teacher Kenny Murphy, who is also a sergeant with the Martinsville Police Department stated, “I
learned so much from this training; all of our officers need this same training. They did such a great job, and
what I thought I knew was so far outdated.”
In addition to school administrators Ryan Wagner and Jesse Burgess, the Band Lot landing zone was secured
by Martinsville Police Officers Dawn Hoffman, Dustin Tarr, and Jerry Bertelson.