A day in the Life: CareFlight of the Rockies
As the morning light glistens off the tarmac of the Rifle Garfield County Airport, the sounds of helicopter rotors cutting through the thin mountain air echo’s across the Colorado River valley between Rifle and Silt.
The Eurocopter AS 350 B3 helicopter piloted by Peter Roelands takes a low elevation test flight on the east end of the airport.
Meanwhile Flight Paramedic Robbie Klemick and Flight Nurse Nate Wilson prep and inventory medicine as CareFlight 3 starts their 24-hour shift at the Rifle CareFlight of the Rockies base.
“We do everything we can and in our power to move quickly, and to launch quickly and safely to get to the patient as quickly as we can,” Wilson said.
“At the end of the day it is what is best for the patient, and us getting them to a definitive care best for the patient.”
The crew, part of non-profit organization serves 12 hospitals through western Colorado including Grand River Health in Rifle, Gunnison Valley Health, Memorial Regional Health in Craig, Montrose Memorial Hospital, Pioneers Medical Center in Meeker, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Grand Junction, and Telluride Medical Center.
The crew waits in a living area attached to the helicopter hanger, complete with rooms for each crew member and a small kitchen.
“You never know what your going to get,” Klimek said as his phone chimes.
“We are the best part of somebody’s worst day.”
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With the steel skeleton of the new care center well under way on Graham Mesa, the groundwork for Grand River Health’s hospital expansion is currently taking shape in south Rifle