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Thursday, Jun 22, 2023

Ballad Health hosts trauma training at Spearhead Trails in rural Southwest Virginia

To expand education about emergency procedures in rural communities, Ballad Health recently held a trauma training seminar for first responders at Spearhead Trails in Dickenson County, Virginia.

Team members from the Ballad Health Trauma Network provided AED (automated external defibrillator), first aid and CPR training, in addition to donating tourniquets and trauma response kits, to the staff of Spearhead Trails and several local emergency response agencies, including Clintwood EMS and Fire Department. Spearhead Trails is a sprawling estate consisting of approximately 600 miles of hiking, biking and offroad recreational trails, as well as archery and firearm ranges.

“Remote and rural areas of Southwest Virginia are part of the regional Ballad Health Trauma Network, and we want to do all we can to take care of patients in this community,” said Shannon Showalter, chief executive officer for all Ballad Health operations in Wise, Lee and Dickenson counties.

“We want to make sure the team here is prepared in case of a medical emergency and help familiarize them with response protocols through tabletop drills and various training scenarios. We want to help teach the team about all the resources available to them and encourage them to start thinking about how, together, we can be better prepared to respond.

Showalter added that receiving prompt treatment and proper assessment is crucial in rural and remote areas like Spearhead Trails.

“We want to ensure first responders and staff members are properly trained to assess and prepare a patient,” he said. “That way, they can get the appropriate level of care at the right time and the right location, whether that means treating them in the field, sending them to a local emergency department or having them transferred to one of our three trauma centers.”

To bolster the training, the Virginia State Police flew its Aviation Unit helicopter to Spearhead Trails. Trooper Pilot Robbie Hamilton and Flight Paramedic Earl Carter reviewed procedures for medical emergencies and situational protocols for search, rescue and medical evacuations. Carter and Hamilton also discussed the capabilities of the different helicopters the Virginia State Police use and the resources they have available to respond.

“They had never flown a helicopter into the property before, so this really helped us educate the team at Spearhead Trails on how to prepare a patient for a helicopter arrival,” Showalter said. “This exercise brought awareness to what the helicopter can and can’t do and the appropriate way of calling in air rescue resources.”

Spearhead Trails is a popular tourist spot in Southwest Virginia and attracts people from across the country, especially during summer. Showalter hopes the training session will make it a safer environment for tourists to participate in outdoor recreation.

“When these emergency responders and staff members leave here, they’re not only serving Spearhead Trails. They’re also going into Tazewell County and into Wise County. They work all over the community and cover a large geographic area. So, the impact of this training is not just local, but it really is going to help people in a much broader area,” Showalter said.

Ballad Health Spearhead Trails
Ballad Health Spearhead Trails walking to helicopter