January 16, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – United States Forest Service employees from as far away as Alaska, Idaho, Montana and New Mexico participated in a week-long training session at John A. Logan College this week. The fifth and final day of training culminated with survival techniques in the event an aircraft crashes into a large body of water.

Jim Edge, Region 9 Helicopter Operations Specialist with the U. S. Forest Service in Milwaukee, Wis., said Friday’s exercise was about getting students of the course comfortable with the water and how to use life-saving equipment such as personal floatation devices.

“We want to put our folks in a place (through training) they can be successful in the event of an unfortunate aircraft landing in water,” Edge said. “In essence, we’re teaching the basics on how to survive in the water after exiting the aircraft.”

Edge said the key to survival is remaining calm and focused.

“How you approach the situation psychologically is more important than anything else,” he said. “It is our hope that everyone here will walk away more confident in knowing that they have the tools necessary to survive, and in turn, can help rescue others.”

Edge said Logan was selected as a training site at the request of John Teutrine, fire management officer with the Shawnee National Forest in Harrisburg. Teutrine was one of about a dozen students participating in the weeklong training session.

“Shawnee has been using Logan for the last several years for various fire and aviation training exercises, so I pitched the idea of doing this national training exercise to both Jim and Barry Hancock (JALC Director of Continuing Education),” Teutrine said. “It took a lot of people to help pull this off, but I think it’s worked out quite well and couldn’t be happier.”