Wyoming Life Flight Crews Get Survival Training (PHOTOS)

Life Flight nurse Kate Lovelace, left, practices using a signaling mirror during survival training on Thursday morning on Casper Mountain. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Wyoming is infamous for its unforgiving weather and terrain.

Crews of Wyoming Life Flight fly through the worst and best of it month after month.

Article continues below...

Medical transport service Wyoming Life Flight operates a helicopter and fixed-wing plane, both of which are on call 24/7 no matter the weather.

“Our flight legs are really long and we fly over rugged territory,” said helicopter pilot Eric Ramsey. In a case of an emergency, “we could be on our own for easily 36 hours,” said Ramsey.

With risks like that outdoor survival training is essential.

On Thursday morning, the entire Life Flight crew of pilots, nurses and paramedics gathered on Casper Mountain for a hands-on crash course in practical outdoor survival techniques.

Methods of building fires and shelters, clothing, staying hydrated and signaling for help were some of the lessons touched on during the morning course.

The odds of using at lest some of the lessons are quite good considering Wyoming’s conditions.

Ramsey recalls having to land his helicopter in a field because of sudden weather conditions and trying to stay warm for hours until it was safe again to fly. Helicopters make lousy shelters, explains Ramsey, because they sacrifice insulation for weight.

Ramsey’s situation was a minor one, but he says it’s good to be prepared for the worst.

Crews gather around the Life Flight helicopter during survival training on Thursday morning on Casper Mountain. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Basic survival supplies and tools are displayed during survival training. The kits are packed into Life Flight aircraft. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Life Flight fixed wing pilot Pete White smiles after getting a fire started using flint and steel during survival training on Thursday morning. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Sparks fly off a stick of flint during survival training. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)