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Published November 22, 2011, 07:59 AM

Sanford Lifeflight benefitting from night vision technology

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The military has realized the benefits of night vision technology for years. Now pilots with Sanford's Life Flight have been trained and are now using the helmet mounted night-vision goggles. The goggles are especially important for medical emergencies in our rural areas.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

The military has realized the benefits of night vision technology for years. Now pilots with Sanford's Life Flight have been trained and are now using the helmet mounted night-vision goggles. The goggles are especially important for medical emergencies in our rural areas.

Life Flight pilot Tim Vreeman is no stranger to birds. He's been flying helicopters since his time in Vietnam back in the late 60's. So when he and his crew head out from Sanford on at night on an emergency call, these are now making all the difference - Night Vision Goggles.

Tim Vreeman – Sanford Life Flight Pilot: “With the goggles on, on a bright moonlight night it is almost like day light.”

Imagine piloting a helicopter at night seeing nothing but darkness and black below....with the night vision goggles, the pilots and flight crew can get a better idea where to land at a car or farm accident scene.

Tim Vreeman: “The major advantage is we can see obstacles.”

And since the paramedics and nurses on board are also wearing night vision goggles, they too are amazed at what they can do.

Nate Tiedeman – Lifeflight Nurse: “Flying up to Devils Lake one night at 2 in the morning, I see a river bed I did not know was there; the little things that make us feel more comfortable every day.”

Outside the helicopter, any lights below or above are like torches, giving pilots like Tim one extra layer of security, ensuring the patient and those taking care of them get back to the hospital safely.

The night vision goggles will also be used when Sanford gets its two new helicopters in Fargo next summer.

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