Thursday, May 30, 2013

Alaska "reality" TV shows

There are many Alaska reality shows on TV, most have a lot of made up drama,  (Flying Wild Alaska, to me, was a comedy).

IMO the best of the Alaska TV shows is Life Below Zero. It is on the National Geographic Channel.

Here is a link to two of the episodes:

If I see more I will post the links.

I am at the end of my Bethel shift so there may not be any, or only a few, updates as most of the time I will be doing this blog thing during down time while at work. 

Here is a teaser of somethings that may end up here in the future....


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Past hogfamily Adventures

I was advised by a experience blogger that to have a successful bolg you should post what have I gotten myself into?......

Keeping that in mind I thought that I would write something today. Well that and I was up early, very early, to go on a medevac that was canceled just as we were lifting off. Our daily chores are done and I have some down time.

I thought I would post links to some of our past adventures to kinda catch up anyone that may have not seen them in the past. 

Look for hogfamily / Jones Gang.

hogfamily Adventures

hogfamily Adventures

Had enough yet? .........Oh but there is more!......... 

Ok, now you are all caught up...............aren't you glad you did that?..........Yup, that's about an hour or so of your life you'll never get back........

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Life as a flight paramedic....part deux

After several people demanding more photos.......uh........well.......ok.......a few one of my boys said, "Dad why didn't you put pictures of snow in Bethel on the blog?"

A few pics of Bethel.

A few of our villages.
Fall on the Kuskokwim River.

Our Caravan.

Some times we will ramp transfer our patients so that they will get to Anchorage quicker. 

Ramp transfer from the Caravan to the King Air in one of our villages

Our local Alaska National Guard Blackhawk. They will fly us when the weather or runway conditions are too bad for the Caravan.

It was a little icy on this day.

 Ok, now for some snow.

And ice.

The Kuskokwim River is used as a highway in the winter when the ice is thick enough.

We often are transported by snowmachine.

Drying and storing firewood for the winter.

Sometimes it gets too cold even for our equipment.  This was after about 15 minutes in minus 45 degrees F.


 A few of the people that I have the privilege to work with and serve.


 The Dragon Slayers.

We love our Dragon Slayers!


To learn more about the Dragon Slayers click the link.


 Hope you have enjoyed a little of the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta.

More from the YK Delta 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Life as a flight paramedic

I'm at work now with a little down time so I thought I would add something to our blog.

Down time is a good thing. If I’m busy it means someone is having a bad day.


A little about my work.


I work as a flight paramedic. I am based in Bethel Alaska. Bethel is on the Kuskokwim River 400 air miles west of Anchorage. There are two paramedics on each team. We have three teams that each work 5 days on 10 days off. We are on call 24 hours a day for the 5 days that we are in Bethel. We are the only medevac team in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, (Y-K Delta), area. We cover 57 villages most of which have runways. For the villages that do not have runways or when the weather is too bad for our fixed wing aircraft the Alaska National Guard flies us in their Blackhawk helicopter that is stationed in Bethel.


The temperatures in the Y-K Delta can get up to 80 degrees F in the summer and as low as minus 50 degrees F in the winter.


Most of the people we serve are either Yupik Eskimo or Athabascan Indian. The villages have populations from about 100 to about 900.


Our primary response area is known as the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. 


Our medevac aircraft is a Cessna Grand Caravan. 

Inside our office.

Sometimes we deliver babies. Often they are premies (premature) so we have an isolett to keep them warm and to transport them in. 


Most of the time we pick up our patients from a village clinic and transport them to the Bethel Hospital when their condition is too severe for the local Community Health Aid to take care of. Then if the patient is too severe for the Bethel hospital one of our Anchorage based crews in a Lear Jet or King Air will transport the patient to Anchorage or a specialty hospital somewhere in the lower 48.

Some of the runways that we land on are small.


The Village Health Aids that we work with have the hardest job in health care in Alaska. They are usually from the village that they work in. Often they are the only local health care provider in their village. A few villages have first responders that will help the Community Health Aids, (CHAs).

Sometimes when the weather gets bad the CHAs my have to take care of the patients for days.

Some of the clinics are small and not too well equipped.


 We have a few Sub-Regional Clinics that are newer and well equipped.


A bittersweet community service that we provide for the residents of the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta is returning terminally ill patients back to their villages so that they may die with dignity surrounded by family. Almost all of these patients we know from when we medevaced them from their village to the Bethel Hospital. Most of them are elders although occasionally we return terminally ill children.

Our pilots will do a couple of low flyovers of the village tilting our airplane so the patient can see the village. This always brings a smile to their face, (and ours).

This is not considered a sad occasion by family and friends but a celebration of the person returning to their home.

Here is a few photos of a village elder being returned to his village and being welcomed home by family.



I have to admit this always brings a few tears to my eyes seeing how happy it makes our patient and their family.

At a few of our villages when we land at the airport, (in winter we go direct by snowmachine, snowmobile in most of the rest of the world), we get on an ATV, go to the river, get in a boat, arrive in the village where our patient is at, get on another ATV go to the clinic, get the patient and do it all in reverse back to the airplane.






A few photos of flying in the Y K Delta.






I was privileged to fly a mission with the Alaska Air National Guard 210th Rescue from Anchorage.


Not too unusual as we often fly missions in Blackhawks with our Alaska Air Guard here in Bethel…. but this time in a HH-60G Pave Hawk …..and an aerial refueling from a C-130. (I had never been in a helicopter during an aerial refueling).




Yup.....I love my job!