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LA County Sheriff's Air Rescue 5 Honored

Rescue Program Is Recipient Of HAI's Sikorsky Award

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Air Rescue 5 Program in Long Beach, CA, is the recipient of Helicopter Association International’s (HAl) 2004 Igor I. Sikorsky Award for Humanitarian Service. This award will be presented February 7, 2005, at HELI-EXPO in Anaheim, California, during HAI’s 44th annual "Salute to Excellence" awards ceremony.

For 50 years, the Los Angeles County Sheriff s Air Rescue program has provided life saving services to the citizens of Los Angeles County. The program began in 1955 using Bell 47 helicopters with skid-mounted litters. In 1970, the first Hughes 500 helicopter was put into service, allowing patients to be transported inside the aircraft rather than on the skids. Desiring to expand the mission and capability of the program, three hoist-equipped surplus CH-34 Sikorsky helicopters were added in 1972 and the call sign, "Air Rescue 5," was assigned.

The Air Rescue 5 program entered the turbine era with two Sikorsky S. 58T helicopters in 1983, with a third added later. Seventeen years later, the S-58Ts were replaced with three Sikorsky SH-3 Sea Kings, refurbished and outfitted with enhanced Medevac suites and rescue hoists.

Air Rescue 5’s safety record includes a zero mishap rate for over 44 years! This record is remarkable in light of the potential dangers associated with helicopter rescues, but also considering the extreme risks that may be associated with mountain searches and law enforcement missions. It is not uncommon for the crew to perform a life-saving rescue one moment, and the next moment to transport a Special Weapons Team prepared to transport injured hostages, officers, or suspects.

The Air Rescue 5 crews have received recognition by Sergei Sikorsky for the Department’s Swift Water Rescue Program presented by the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association, the Higgins-Langley award for Swift Water Rescues, and the Heroism Award presented by Rotor & Wing Magazine. The Air Rescue 5 program embodies Los Angeles County’s commitment to the safety and well-being of its citizens and demonstrates the use of rotorcraft in outstanding public safety services.

In recognition of five decades of life-saving rescues, successful searches, evacuations of lost persons, countless law enforcement missions, and an impeccable safety record, HAI salutes the Los Angeles County Sheriff s Department Air Rescue 5 program. Whether a technical rescue in the rugged San Gabriel Mountains, a swift water rescue in a raging flood control channel, or medical transport from Santa Catalina Island, the members of Air Rescue 5 proudly stand behind their motto, "Any mission. Anytime. Anywhere."

FMI: www.lasd.org

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