Chris Moriarty is a training project coordinator at Remote Medical International in Seattle, as well as a volunteer EMT and helicopter rescue technician.
What do you do? I am a training project coordinator at Remote Medical International (RMI) in Seattle. I manage the logistics for our medical training courses taught all over the world. I am also a volunteer EMT and helicopter rescue technician with the Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team (HRT). This team performs over 80 search and rescue missions per year in mountainous terrain throughout Snohomish County.
How did you get started in that field? My passion for alpine climbing and backcountry skiing led me to volunteer with Everett Mountain Rescue. I later applied and was accepted as a member of the Helicopter Rescue Team. While earning my EMT, which was a requirement to be a rescue tech, I left my job in higher education and refocused my career goals around wilderness rescue and remote medicine. RMI’s industry-leading reputation made it a logical fit and exciting new opportunity.
What’s a typical day like? At RMI my job duties vary widely: I liaise with clients, book instructors to teach classes, schedule travel itineraries, coordinate the pickup or shipping of gear, log teaching hours, review expense reports, generate certifications for our students, and compile and distribute feedback about our courses. Every day brings unforeseen challenges that need to be overcome.
On my helicopter duty days, we aim to be airborne in under an hour when a 911 call comes in, which translates to 30–45 minutes to get to the hangar, suit up, select appropriate rescue gear and begin formulating options for executing the rescue. Often information is incomplete or inaccurate, so it’s a team effort to prepare for multiple scenarios. When we aren’t flying missions, we train several times per month to keep our rescue skills sharp.
What’s the best part of the job? The best part of both of these jobs is working on a high-functioning team of experts and knowing that what we do makes a positive difference in people’s lives. RMI’s instructors turn students into medical professionals who can skillfully save lives in austere environments around the world. RMI has been very supportive of my volunteer work, and I work remotely when I’m on HRT duty to be closer to the hangar. It’s a privilege to serve on HRT and use my knowledge and skills to directly assist others in need.
What surprises people about what you do? In both of my roles, people are often impressed by our organizational capability. Whether it’s putting on a training course in northern Africa or hoist extracting an injured hiker in the North Cascades, the teams at RMI and HRT are able to reliably complete missions in difficult places while exceeding expectations.
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