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Durango High School to host Flight for Life helicopter landing

Seminar an opportunity for students to learn lifesaving rescue practices
A Flight for Life helicopter landing will take place at Durango High School Wednesday afternoon. Students will have the opportunity to learn rescue techniques from first responders. (Durango herald file)

A Flight for Life helicopter landing will be held Wednesday at Durango High School baseball field as part of the school’s health care pathway courses.

The landing will take place at 2 p.m. and those who registered for the event will have the opportunity to explore the inside of the helicopter, network with experts and hear paramedics outline emergency situations.

Students will learn about the equipment on board the helicopter and what the aircraft’s capabilities.

“They'll actually go and tour the helicopter and meet with the professionals and they walk them through what they would do in scenarios where they're doing lifesaving rescue,” said DHS teacher Kyle Montgomery.

Career and technical education health care pathway courses were started in 2019 by Montgomery, but in-person activities had been limited until this year because of COVID-19 policies.

Montgomery said more students are becoming interested in medical careers. The program is meant to help students pursue their passion and get an accurate depiction of what working in a medical profession looks like.

He said students taking medical courses are mostly interested in being nurses or doctors. However, Montgomery wants students to see how learning medical practices can be applicable in multiple settings.

Phlebotomist, radiology technician and medical assistant are three of the specific certifications Montgomery mentioned as part of the DHS health care pathway.

Montgomery said his students have a desire to help people and to challenge themselves. Events like the helicopter landing help students make connections with medical professionals they can use later.

“Some students might fall in love with this and they might go down that path, but the majority of students probably won't,” he said.

Montgomery said the benefit of the event is that students will have an understanding and appreciation for what Flight for Life crews do.

The helicopter is just one of the many ways Montgomery is trying to exposure students to the medical fields. He has also taken students on tours of Animas Surgical Hospital to meet with health care professionals about career opportunities.

He said some students may be completing internships with the hospital as well. The students will be doing the same at Mercy Regional Medical Center in the upcoming weeks.

For DHS students, the health care career pathway courses allow them to learn in another setting outside of their core classes. The classes are also part of the school district’s mission to create a workforce pipeline in Durango.

“We’re always looking for ways to pull in our community partners, and this is really exciting,” Montgomery said. “Flight for Life staff are doing this because they really want to encourage our kids to enter the medical field.”

tbrown@durangoherald.com

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