Pennsylvania Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team

Pennsylvania Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team This highly trained aerial search and rescue team provides an air asset for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Operating as usual

When Hurricane Ida roared into Pennsylvania last week causing catastrophic flooding, many residents had to be rescued by...
09/08/2021
Watch: Middletown resident rescued by air from Neshaminy Creek floods

When Hurricane Ida roared into Pennsylvania last week causing catastrophic flooding, many residents had to be rescued by water rescue teams and specialized assets. There are times, when local water rescue teams are overwhelmed and victims cannot be reached due to dangerous swiftwater conditions beyond their capabilities. The only option may be the Pennsylvania Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team. The crew (military and civilian rescue technicians), fly to the site and hoist down for the extraction. A team consists of pilots, crew chiefs, and multiple rescue technicians who work as one seamless unit to thread the needle and position the RT on the cable for the rescue. These crews practice for years for this one specific moment. Training pays off! Congratulations to the entire PA-HART crew on this successful mission.

A resident of Middletown is airlifted to safety as Neshaminy Creek waters rise.

03/31/2021
PFBC - Cold Water Kills!

Falling into cold water can be deadly! Cold water causes an immediate “gasp” reflex and makes it difficult to control your breathing. Then you quickly lose the ability to rescue yourself and eventually succumb to hypothermia. Wearing a life jacket can greatly increase your odds of surviving cold-water immersion. That’s why Pennsylvania has a mandatory cold-water life jacket wear requirement from November 1 to April 30. Learn more at fishandboat.com

03/09/2021
Water Safety Tips with Chris - Ice Safety

Is the ice safe? What are signs of weak or deteriorating ice conditions? What should you do if you fall through the ice? This clip covers each topic and provides recommendations for being safe on the ice.

When travelling on ice, follow these recommendations:

• Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.

• Assess ice characteristics and conditions from shore before you ever venture onto the ice. Heed all warning signs of weak or deteriorating ice.

• Probe ice with a pole and continuously check thickness. The general thickness guideline for one person travelling on ice is a minimum of 4 inches of clear ice.

• Wear a life jacket or float coat and appropriate thermal protection for conditions.

• Carry a set of ice awls to aid getting out of the water.

• Have a throw bag/rope to use for rescue.

• If the ice begins to crack, immediately lay down and crawl back in the direction from which you came.

• If you fall through the ice, face the direction from which you just came. Kick your legs to propel yourself and pull using your ice awls to get onto the ice surface. Roll away from the hole and crawl to safety.

• If you witness someone fall through the ice, CALL 911 for help.

To learn about water and ice safety in Pennsylvania visit: https://www.fishandboat.com/Boat/WaterandIceSafety

07/03/2020
06/22/2020
The Rescue Sequence - An Approach to Water Rescue Tactics

Thank you for sharing!

The Rescue Sequence is an approach to water rescue tactics from simple to complex. The levels include self, shore, boat, direct contact and helicopter.

The first person able to rescue you is YOU! Self-rescue techniques involve your ability to reach safety should you end up in the water. All water rescue personnel must know swimming tactics or methods to extract themselves from the water. Rescuers can also talk individuals into self-rescue.

Shore-based rescue consists of throwing and reaching technique. The limits of these tactics are based upon distance and the victim’s ability to reach or grasp the device deployed. Examples include: throw bags, extension devices like a reach pole or paddle, and capturing techniques such as a tension diagonal net or double line floating tether system.

Boat-based rescue allow technicians to reach distant locations, carry rescue assets and tools, transport personnel and victims, and provide stable platforms to work from in challenging conditions. They can be unpowered or powered boats, rescue boards and sleds.

Direct contact rescue involves technicians entering the water to rescue and or recover a victim. The use of Type V water rescue vests for tethered swimmer rescues requires strong swimming skills, significant training and practice. Rescuers must know the risks and hazards of the tool and how to mitigate and manage problems. Direct contact can also include the use of public safety divers to reach submerged victims.

Helicopter is the highest and most complex of the rescue sequence. Aerial platforms can transport personnel and assets when time, distance and access is limited. Rescue technicians can also hoist to and extract victims using multiple rescue devices.

The rescue sequence provides options to rescuers. Remember, keep it simple, train with all tactics, and have backup in place prior to engaging.

*Special thanks to the International Association of Water Rescue Professionals for footage.

06/15/2020
ALSR - Movable Control Point

This clip provides an OVERVIEW of the movable control point (MCP) system taught in the PA Fish and Boat Commission’s Advanced Line Systems Rescue – NFPA 1670 Technician Level course. It shows the BASIC components (terminology, setup, anchors, and system operation). An instructor provides additional detailed content using the clip for talking points and overview. Student then practice dry land drills and iterations before moving to swiftwater practical application.

The MCP system moves a boat left, right, up and down in the current. The boat is used as a platform for rescue and/or recovery operation.

This is a complex rescue system that requires teamwork, effective communication, and high level rescue technician level skills.

12/20/2019
Season's Greetings from PA-HART

PA-HART would like to wish all first responders, law enforcement and military personnel who protect and serve 24/7/365, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas. We thank you for your service and dedication protecting our communities, freedoms and the Homeland.

11/28/2019
Images from the PA Fish and Boat Commissions Advanced Line Systems Rescue instructor course.  Location - Foster Joseph S...
11/24/2019

Images from the PA Fish and Boat Commissions Advanced Line Systems Rescue instructor course.

Location - Foster Joseph Sayers Reservoir
Date - November 17, 2019

Images by: Chris A. Calhoun

Images from the PA Fish and Boat Commissions Advanced Line Systems Rescue instructor course.

Location - Foster Joseph Sayers Reservoir
Date - November 17, 2019

Images by: Chris A. Calhoun

11/24/2019
Advanced Line Systems Rescue Instructor Course - 2019

This short clip provides an overview of the PA Fish and Boat Commissions Advanced Line Systems Rescue instructor course. Candidates learn how to teach and facilitate the curriculum. They practice and hone their skills to instructor level proficiency. Upon successful completion of all requirements, they can instruct the program.

11/08/2019
HART SAR Workshop Highlights - 2019

The 2019 HART SAR Workshop was held at the Keystone Conference Center in Annville, PA at Fort Indiantown Gap November 5-6, 2019. Military and civilian representatives from eighteen states participated in the event.

Participants were welcomed to the event by:

*Major General Anthony Carrelli - The Adjutant General of Pennsylvania
*Timothy Schaeffer - Executive Director of the PA Fish and Boat Commission
*Randy Padfield – PA Emergency Management Agency Director
*Brigadier General David Wood
*Lt. Col. Michael Girvin

Presentations during the two-day workshop included:

*Civilian and National Guard Partnership: PA-HART from the Ground Up – 2019 Highlights
*Air Operations Branch Considerations for Search and Rescue Operations
*Risks and Hazards of Tactical Operations in the Aquatic Environment
*EMAC Packages and Lessons Learned
*South Carolina HART and Academy

Participants had the opportunity to network, share experiences and lessons learned; meet vendor’s, checkout equipment and operational cache resources.

Special thanks to the PA Fish and Boat Commission, PA Emergency Management Agency, PA Army National Guard, PA-Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team, PA-Special Medical Response Team for logistics, coordination, planning and support of the HART SAR Workshop.

Additional thanks to the following vendors:

*Capewell Aerial Systems
*Haix USA
*Mustang Survival
*Zodiac MilPro

18 states participated in the Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team 2019 SAR Workshop.  They were:01.  Pennsylvania02.  Illinoi...
11/06/2019

18 states participated in the Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team 2019 SAR Workshop. They were:

01. Pennsylvania

02. Illinois

03. Kentucky

04. Idaho

05. Mississippi

06. Missouri

07. New Jersey

08. Connecticut

09. Virginia

10. Texas

11. South Carolina

12. North Carolina

13. Indiana

14. Maryland

15. Delaware

16. Georgia

17. Oklahoma

18. Florida

Highlights from day 1 of the Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team SAR Wokshop included the following presenations:1.  Civilian...
11/06/2019

Highlights from day 1 of the Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team SAR Wokshop included the following presenations:

1. Civilian and National Guard Partnership PA-HART from the Ground Up - 2019 Highlights
2. Air Operations Branch Considerations for Search and Rescue Operations
3. Risks and Hazards of Tactical Operations in the Aquatic Ennvironment
4. South Carolina HART

Participants had the opportunity to network, meet vendors and checkout equipment resources.

Five minute to opening sessions - Day 1 HART SAR Workshop - 2019
11/05/2019

Five minute to opening sessions - Day 1 HART SAR Workshop - 2019

Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team - 2019 SAR Workshop - Day 1 Getting ready for sessions to begin.#2019HARTSARWorkshop
11/05/2019

Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team - 2019 SAR Workshop - Day 1

Getting ready for sessions to begin.

#2019HARTSARWorkshop

09/27/2019
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Water Rescue

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Personal Protective Equipment used in water rescue must meet mission demands and environment. PPE provides a means to regulate thermal balance, buoyance, and reduce contact with contaminated water. The equipment must be durable and allow the wearer to function with minimal restrictions.

Thermal protection worn close to the body is the first consideration. Utilize synthetic products that wick moisture away for the body. Insulation layers are added to transport moisture and provide warmth. The thickness of these layers is dependent upon weather and water temperatures.

Once appropriate layering is donned, the external protection layer is used. A dry suit will transport water v***r away from the body and keep wind and water from entering. Dry suits do not insulate, it is the layering under that provides warmth!

Buoyance is achieved by wearing and properly donning a personal floating device. Some are specifically designed for water rescue applications. Don the vest, zip and clip all straps (including crotch straps if integrated into the PFD), thread the tri-guide correctly and adjust all straps for a good fit. Have a second rescuer validate proper fit and that the tri-guide and quick release harness or correct. At a minimum, outfit the PFD with a whistle, knife and two locking carabineers.

Water rescue helmets provide front, back and side protection. They must include reflective material and a waterproof light for visibility and illumination. If wearing communications, consider a high cut design. Additional considerations include: front mounting shroud for NVG, side rails, and an adjustable boa system for best fit.

Thermal and hand abrasion protection requires wearing water rescue gloves. Have thinner gloves for warmer conditions and thicker for cold.

Water rescue boots provide protection for your dry suit socks, ankles and may provide warmth based upon design. They must be larger than normal boot size due to dry suit and thermal insulation sock thickness.

Remember - wearing appropriate mission specific PPE allows rescuers to engage in hostile environments and function up to their highest level.

09/16/2019
28th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade

28th ECAB Soldiers performing a flyover in UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters before today’s Pittsburgh Steelers - Seattle Seahawks game!

28th ECAB Soldiers performing a flyover in UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters before today’s Pittsburgh Steelers - Seattle Seahawks game!

#WingsOfIron #RollOn 28th Infantry Division | Pennsylvania National Guard | NFL

To all federal, state and local water rescue teams deployed and currently engaged in search and rescue operations for Hu...
09/05/2019

To all federal, state and local water rescue teams deployed and currently engaged in search and rescue operations for Hurricane Dorian, PA-HART thanks all for your service and dedication. Your training, experience and assets will help bring calm to communities in the midst of the storm. Be safe!

Image: MD-HART

08/29/2019
Visual Guide to Water Dynamics and Features

This clip identifies and shows common water features and dynamics. The ability to scout and read water dynamics is an essential skill for all rescue personnel. To truly understand the power and risks associated with water, take a water rescue course to practice and hone skills. Experience and knowledge is key!

08/21/2019
PFBC Water Rescue Program

The PA Fish and Boat Commissions Water Rescue Program held its first course in 1983. Since that time, the curriculum has evolved and grown to become a nationally recognized program.

This clip shows an overview of the following courses:
-Water Rescue and Emergency Response – NFPA 1670 Operations Level
-Emergency Boat Operations and Rescue – NFPA 1670 Technician Level
-Advanced Line Systems Rescue – NFPA 1670 Technician Level
-Ice Rescue and Emergency Response – NFPA 1670 Technician Level

For additional information about the PFBC Water Rescue Program click on the following link:
https://www.fishandboat.com/Boat/PennsylvaniaWaterRescue/Pages/default.aspx

August 15, 2019, the Pennsylvania Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team conducted the full scale Operation Hurricane Jennifer e...
08/16/2019

August 15, 2019, the Pennsylvania Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team conducted the full scale Operation Hurricane Jennifer exercise at Fort Hunter on the Susquehanna River. The iteration involved local, Commonwealth and federal partners to test and assess readiness for future missions. Exercise components included planning, movement of VRSR swiftwater rescue teams, security and force protection, search and rescue, medical, media relations, communications and incident command.

Special thanks to the following agencies and organizations for their participation:

PA Army National Guard
PA Fish and Boat Commission
PA Emergency Management Agency
PFBC Swiftwater Emergency Response Team (SWERT)
Special Medical Response Team (SMRT)
Rescue Fire Company (37) VRSR Type 2A
Harrisburg River Rescue (10) VRSR Type 2A
Dauphin-Middle Paxton Twp. FC (38)
Susquehanna Twp. EMS
Robinson Twp. VFC #1 VRSR Type 2A

Following the exercise, immediate after actions reviews are conducted to identify strengths and areas to improve. This training helps all to be mission ready for future incidents and deployments.

Another share from yesterday’s training mission.
08/16/2019

Another share from yesterday’s training mission.

28th ECAB Soldiers worked with our partners in the Pennsylvania Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team during a hurricane response exercise Thursday on the Susquehanna River.

PA-HART is a joint partnership between the Pennsylvania National Guard, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, PEMA and certified civilian rescue technicians. It is an aerial search and rescue team, able to assist citizens during disasters.

#WingsOfIron #RollOn 28th Infantry Division

It was a great day of training!
08/16/2019
Daniel Hamburg

It was a great day of training!

Pennsylvania Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team led 'Operation Hurricane' today on the Susquehanna River, simulating potential flooding from a hurricane.

ReadyPA
Harrisburg River Rescue and Emergency Services
Pennsylvania National Guard
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

07/15/2019
PA HART: Hurricane Jessica Exercise

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On June 27, 2019, the Pennsylvania Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team conducted the Hurricane Jessica Exercise at Butler County Community College in Butler, PA. The exercise included the movement of Butler County Water Rescue Team 300, four hoist evolution stations from a car, tower, tractor trailer truck and SKED tagline using UH-60 Black Hawks and CH-47 Chinook helicopters. This large scale exercise prepares the team for real world rescues.

Special thanks to:
Butler County Community College
Butler County Water Rescue Team 300 - VRSR Type 2 Team
Butler Township Volunteer Fire District
Special Medical Response Team (SMRT)
Zodiac Milpro
Videographers: Kelly and Jessica Calhoun - Greg Dindinger

Video by: Chris A. Calhoun

On June 27, 2019 the Pennsylvania Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team conducted the Hurricane Jessica Exercise at Butler Coun...
07/04/2019

On June 27, 2019 the Pennsylvania Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team conducted the Hurricane Jessica Exercise at Butler County Community College in Butler, PA. The exercise included the movement of Butler County Water Rescue Team 300, four hoist evolution stations from a car, tower, tractor trailer truck and SKED tagline using UH-60 Black Hawks and CH-47 Chinook helicopters. This large scale exercise prepares the team for real world rescues.

Images by:
Chris, Kelly and Jessica Calhoun

On June 27, 2019 the Pennsylvania Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team conducted the Hurricane Jessica Exercise at Butler County Community College in Butler, PA. The exercise included the movement of Butler County Water Rescue Team 300, four hoist evolution stations from a car, tower, tractor trailer truck and SKED tagline using UH-60 Black Hawks and CH-47 Chinook helicopters. This large scale exercise prepares the team for real world rescues.

Images by:
Chris, Kelly and Jessica Calhoun

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