TriState CareFlight Collaborates in Annual Water Rescue Training


First responders hold multi-county joint training exercises preparing teams for emergency response at Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu City, AZ – June 8, 2023 — Where seconds make all the difference in saving a life, the TriState CareFlight team trains regularly with first responders to be prepared to meet any emergent situation, no matter the time of year, for both residents and visitors. With boating season in full swing, the TriState CareFlight team collaborated with multiple law enforcement, fire, and medical agencies in a joint training exercise on Lake Havasu, ensuring a coordinated effort if an emergency were to arise.  

Lake Havasu City Police and Fire departments, Mohave County and San Bernardino Sheriffs’ Offices, San Bernardino Fire, Arizona State Park Rangers, and AMR ground ambulance, in conjunction with TriState CareFlight, spent Thursday morning, June 8, executing real-life rescue scenarios.

“Our CareFlight team participates in these types of emergency-response trainings annually, giving a practical and first-hand experience of rescue and recovery,” said TriState CareFlight Account Executive Valerie Yezerova. “These trainings create a lot of muscle memory so when the call to action is real, we are ready to respond in a seamless way.”

Each agency plays a pivotal role in responding to various incidents including boating/watercraft accidents, missing swimmers or boaters, drowning victims, etc. For example, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Division of Boating provides public safety coverage along the Colorado River from the Parker Dam to the Davis Dam and on Lake Havasu. 

“The MCSO Dive Rescue and Recovery Team consists of 25 sworn and civilian rescue divers,” said MCSO Division of Boating Safety and Dive Team Instructor Sgt. Kyler Cox. “This training will give these agencies the opportunity to coordinate resources to ensure the best possible response to any critical incident on our waterways.”

The TriState CareFlight team responds when dispatched through a 911 call or a local first responder agency request. The flight team consists of a seasoned pilot and a highly trained critical care team consisting of a nurse and a paramedic. On scene, the team stabilizes the patient for transport to the receiving hospital. On every transport mission, the clinical team carries blood products (i.e. blood and plasma) and will administer it in flight if necessary, positively increasing patient outcomes through pre-hospital care.

The real value of this specialty training is building interagency collaboration so that when an accident occurs, they are collectively better suited to handle the emergency.

“Being able to train with our partner agencies is critical,” said Flight Nurse Bekah Williams. “We are able to get a feel for equipment and personnel, which can be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.”

Flight Paramedic Liam Smith agrees and adds that communication among agencies is critical to safety. 

Each agency wants to remind people that if they’re on the water, on any type of watercraft, they need life jackets on them, or at least with them — one for each person.

TriState CareFlight is part of Air Methods, the nation’s largest air medical services provider. Residents of Arizona, California, and Nevada receive emergency air medical care, as well as interfacility transport when they need to move from one hospital to another for specialized care, thanks to TriState CareFlight’s well-positioned base in Lake Havasu City.