Students at the Upshur County Citizens' Firefighter Academy gathered at the airport to learn more about HealthNet and what it takes to safely transport a patient by air.
In addition to all the medical gear needed to help the patients, the crew of helicopters also needs to be well trained, especially the aircrafts' pilots, like Frank Figueroa. Figueroa learned to fly through the military, including tours areas such as Kosovo. He says that military training serves him well in his new job.
"Talking to different controllers in the FAA community, our use of night vision goggles, we use those a lot in the military, and being able to be familiar with that equipment and being able to use it here has been really really helpful," Figueroa said.
That training can be helpful, since there's plenty of challenges to go with the job, like the terrain and the elements.
"We do have weather reporting capabilities and as good as they are, sometimes there are gaps in the time in which the reports come out, so you have to be able to make some decisions," he said.
The job isn't always easy, but Figueroa said he looks forward to going to work each day. He said he is glad he can help the area he calls home.
"I live in the community, I grew up here and being able to provide a service to my local community like what we have right here is very rewarding," Figueroa said.