First responders, public gather at ‘Landing Zone’

By John Dilmore

Several emergency first-response helicopters touched down in a field behind the Atlanta Fire Station Saturday morning as part of a public landing zone class meant to bring the copters’ crews together with local first-responders and others involved in reacting to emergencies.
It also offered the public a first-hand look at assets used in responding to emergencies.
The crews, local firefighters, county officials and others attended a presentation from CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital and exchanged information on a number of topics. 
The aim was to build familiarity and support -- and also to bolster preparedness in the event a local emergency requires the agencies to coordinate efforts in this area.
Douglassville Fire Chief Alfred Point and other local officials coordinated the event.
Atlanta Fire Chief Robin Betts said, “We’ve done a community-wide event where the county, all the VFDs (volunteer fire departments), citizens – we’re making them aware of the assets we have. 
“Also, we work in conjunction with CHRISTUS St. Michael here in Atlanta, very close partners with the county.
“We’re just trying to educate -- not only the first responders … but the community as well.”
CHRISTUS St. Michael Administrator Thomas McKinney, who delivered the hospital’s portion of the presentation, said such events help build communication between the essential parts of the emergency response process.
“What they (emergency responders) do out in the field is the starting point of the emergency care we can provide,” McKinney said. “If we’re not on the same page with our first-responders in the field, we can’t give the best care possible to our patients.”

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