Even in paradise, medical emergencies sometimes arise. For those who find themselves in distress in Hawaii, however, a team of heroes stands by to rush them to a Honolulu medical center, even if they’re on one of the other islands.
Those missions of mercy are highlighted in “Hawaii Air Rescue,” a new half-hour reality series premiering with two back-to-back episodes Wednesday, Sept. 5, on The Weather Channel.
Each episode features two rescues performed by a two-person team. The opener focuses on a young musician who is critically injured in a head-on collision with a drunken driver, and an older patient who has had a devastating lawn mower accident.
What’s this show doing on The Weather Channel, you may ask? It’s partly because Hawaii’s changeable weather can play havoc in emergency flights where minutes can make the difference between life and death.
“People there get used to it, but when you’re from somewhere else, it’ll really shock you how fast a storm comes in — boom! — and nails a place for 20 minutes and then just disappears,” series producer Chuck Smith tells Zap2it. “The winds also are constantly there, and occasionally they get hurricanes and tsunamis as well, although we didn’t experience those.”
The topography of the islands also poses special challenges to the nurses and paramedics responding to distress calls, since they must be prepared to work in very disparate climate conditions.
“There are areas that are extremely dry and [where it] barely rains at all, but the wettest city in the United States is Hilo, on the big island,” Smith says. “You can go skiing at the top of one of the islands, but it’s very warm in another place. Some places feel like you’re out in Nevada, while somewhere else it’s like being in a tropical jungle, and one mountain will mark the difference between one extreme environment and another. So these rescue technicians have to know how to handle an enormous diversity in the crises they see.”