STARS air ambulances are now able to land and take off from Chinook Regional Hospital’s new helipad, which was officially approved for use last week by Transport Canada.
The helipad, located on the roof of the hospital’s parkade, is rated to handle 8,000 kilograms and will accommodate STARS’ current Eurocopter BK-117 helicopter, as well as its longer-range AgustaWestland AW139, entering service later this year.
STARS has a ‘fly friendly’ policy that directs its pilots to reduce noise as much as possible when approaching and departing landing areas. Reducing noise involves approaching the hospitals at the highest altitude possible while maintaining a constant focus on safety.
When wind and weather prevents landings at the hospital, STARS helicopters might be diverted to the Lethbridge County airport where patients will be transported to hospital by EMS ground ambulance.
STARS flew 50 missions to and from Lethbridge last year.
Once patients arrive at the hospital by STARS, parkade elevators can be overridden so staff can access the helipad level without delay. A corridor linking the parkade to Chinook Regional Hospital is part of the site redevelopment.
The previous ground-level helipad will be decommissioned and the space will be used to store construction equipment used for the hospital’s ongoing redevelopment projects.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than 3.7 million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.
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