Night landings approved for helipad at Elk Valley Hospital

Night landings approved for helipad at Elk Valley Hospital

18-Mar-2010 Source: STARS

FERNIE: The Elk Valley Hospital’s helipad has been certified by Transport Canada for night landings with the use of night vision goggles (NVG); the helipad is the first day time helipad in Canada to receive this certification.  This means that pilots from STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society) air ambulance are now able to land at the Elk Valley Hospital, weather permitting, to transport critically ill or injured patients to a higher level of care.

“This is very positive news for the Elk Valley”, said Kootenay East MLA, Bill Bennett. “Our region contains thousands of jobs in the mining, forestry, transportation and construction industries. These workers and their families deserve this new service. As well, the Elk Valley is home to Fernie Alpine Resort, guiding and angling on local rivers, guide outfitting, the Trans Rockies mountain bike challenge and many other outdoor recreation and tourism activities. With night landing capability, the Elk Valley Hospital and Interior Health are ensuring that residents and visitors will receive the care they need in a timely manner.”

It took Interior Health two years to get the helipad certified as there was no existing documentation specifically dealing with night vision goggles and the requirements for flight paths, obstacle identification, and lighting.  To achieve this Interior Health hired Stantec Consulting from Red Deer, Alberta to do the site plans, flight paths, and operating manuals needed. Once the Elk Valley Hospital completed the requirements Transport Canada, issued a heliport certificate allowing night landings and take offs with use of night vision goggles. The cost to achieve this certification was $40,000.

“STARS was very excited for this opportunity to work with Interior Health and the fantastic staff at the Elk Valley Hospital” said Mike Potter, Aviation Manager for the STARS Calgary Base. “Being certified to land at the Elk Valley heliport using night vision goggles means our crews are able to land at the hospital in Fernie at any time, which means patients are getting the care they need quicker.”

“The Elk Valley Hospital and Interior Health is thrilled that our helipad can now be used for night landings” says Elk Valley Health Services Administrator Karyn Morash. “We are committed to providing the highest quality of care to our patients and at times that means transferring them to tertiary hospital for a higher level of care. With night time landings we have now increased our ability to get patients the care they need faster.”

In 2009, STARS flew nine missions to the Elk Valley Hospital and 10 missions in 2008.

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