ST. CLOUD -- This week in our “Behind the Scenes” series on WJON,  we take to the skies with the Life Link Air Ambulance team.

The Life Link team doesn't hesitate when an emergency is called in.

Operations Manager Mike Reid says the call comes in similar to that of the fire department.

"The call comes through our dispatch center, either by a 911 center of the hospital, and as soon as they are notified we are toned out, much like a fire station, and then told where to go," says Reid.

It takes the crew ten minutes to become air borne and en route to the scene or hospital.

Life Link Operations Manager Nate Lebeck says once on scene, they gather information from first responders, meet the patient and placing them in the helicopter.

"The patient is configured on the side of the helicopter with their head towards the front and their legs back of the air craft," says Lebeck.

When the helicopter arrives at the hospital a team of nurses and security awaits to help transport the patient.

"If they are in real critical condition we will off load them with the blades still in motion, and security will be up here with a cart where we take them right to the trauma center," says Reid.

Life Link flies about two times per shift and Reid says weather gives them the most trouble.

"We can't fly in low ceilings, poor visibility, icy conditions or very close to thunderstorms," says Reid.

Just like all paramedics, remaining calm in an emergency is part of the job.

"We just know we have to instill that confidence in the patient," says Reid.

Working for Life Link brings something new everyday, and Lebeck says that's what makes the job fun.

"It's not that 9 to 5 office job everyday, it's always different and challenging and the best part about it is you're changing peoples lives for the better," says Lebeck.

Life Link has stations in Alexandria, Willmar, Blaine, Rice Lake and Hibbing.


Members of Life Link and CentraCare practice transporting a patient from the helicopter to the trauma center. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)