ALEA Aviation Unit offers hoist training to Colbert County agencies

Shoals

COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. — If you drove past the Alabama Music Hall of Fame Wednesday morning, you might have asked what all the commotion was in the back parking lot.

The Northwest Alabama K9 Search and Rescue team has partnered with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Aviation Unit to perform hoist training for emergency search and rescue operations.

Multiple agencies were present including the Colbert County EMA, Sheriff’s Office, and Tuscumbia Police and Fire Departments.

EMA Director Michael David Smith said the training prepares crews for situations where rescue would be more difficult from the ground.

“Rough terrain areas, wooded areas, and things like that, things where you couldn’t normally get into and easily get the patient out by hand,” Smith said.

The training can help in situations like after a severe weather event. “We have times where we might have to call the helicopter in to come hoist those patients out,” Smith said. “Today, they’re going to be working on practicing some of that and also hoisting the K9s and their handlers out at the same time as well and getting the K9s used to being in the helicopter.”

Smith said the training offers experience, knowledge, and relationships. When crews are faced with an emergency situation, Smith said they will now know what to expect and will also know the ALEA Aviation Unit members by name. He added that the relationship is just as important as the training.

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