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Here's why that Black Hawk helicopter was atop one Northern California hospital

Why was that Black Hawk helicopter at Sutter Roseville?
Why was that Black Hawk helicopter at Sutter Roseville? 01:56

ROSEVILLE — If you saw a Black Hawk helicopter hovering over Sutter Roseville Tuesday morning, you might have wondered what was happening. It was part of a training exercise to teach first responders in the event of an emergency.

Erik Angle designed this exercise in coordination with the National Guard, a group of first responders, ambulance companies, hospital staff and agencies like the California Department of Public Health.

"The hands-on training in a full-scale exercise is absolutely, vitally important to do," Angle said.

They are doing mass casualty triage. It's something Jenni Douglas has done before in her twenty years at Sutter Roseville.

"It's always a very real possibility," she said. "So it's nice to know we can deal with it, and it's fun to practice where it's in a safe environment."

Douglas said this type of drill builds confidence and serves as a team-building exercise, especially with younger staff.

"I think it's very important for them," she said. "I feel it's something everyone needs to know. Emergencies and disasters happen all over the place, so you've got to know what to do, what to expect and how to deal with it."

It's not about just treating victims and saving lives but keeping first responders and the community around them safe as well.

"This would be significantly dangerous," said Gary Gates, a registered nurse at Sutter Roseville. "If a helicopter crashed on this pad – it's almost in the middle of our campus – we'd have to direct people away from us. We'd have to move things. We'd have to do all kinds of stuff that would be very dangerous."

Practice doesn't always make perfect, but it serves as a preventative measure so if it does happen, protocols are in place.

Sutter Roseville has the only helipad in Northern California that is large enough for a Blackhawk. This is the sixth time Angle has conducted this drill with the National Guard. They put these together across California and other parts of the country.  

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