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Lloydminster Hospital helicopter landing pad now operational

The helicopter landing pad at the Lloydminster Hospital is now fully operational. Patients who need urgent transfers from Lloydminster Hospital can now benefit from a more timely response.

CEO of the Lloydminster Regional Health Foundation Malcolm Radke says that it’s a great way to enter the new year.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better piece of news this time of year, right in time for Christmas,” says Radke.

Located just across 43rd Street from the Lloydminster Hospital, the landing pad construction was a community partnership.

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“Husky and Musgrave coordinated it, but there’s a bunch of construction partners along the way,” says Radke.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), STARS, Rotary Club of Lloydminster, Boundary Ford and the RM of Wilton are a few who helped with donations or with construction.

“Basically everybody in the community stepped up to make this happen as fast as possible, and here we are.”

Radke is very proud of the community involvement and highlights how the landing pad will help those in need of transferring to hospitals in major cities.

“If you’re dealing with cardiac arrest or heart attack, for example, the half hour or hour you can save there in your transfer instead of taking a ground ambulance, that’s either going to be life or death or a huge impact on quality of life.”

It doesn’t just help with transfers to larger hospitals; it acts as a regional helipad and allows communities or worksites in the surrounding area to better access the hospital.

It also frees up ground ambulances for other medical emergencies. Radke says that there’s been a push for more ambulances to cover the community.

“Now that those ambulances don’t have to worry as much about handling transfers to and from major cities, it’s just more ambulances on the ground for community coverage, which is great news too.”

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Radke hopes nobody should have to use the helipad but says the current rate of transfers varies from once every few weeks to once a month.

Major cities now aware of our helipad. As hospital staff get more comfortable with the STARS transfer team, Radke sees the helipad getting used more for both urgent and non-urgent transfers.

“I would say maybe as much as once a week to once a month, and if there was ever a major emergency or crisis nearby or in our community, that helipad is open for anyone to come and go,” says Radke.

The SHA reminds everyone going to the hospital that during patient transfers from the hospital to the STARS helicopter there may be short traffic disruptions. SHA staff will be securing the area for all landings and takeoffs.

STARS uses certified flight paths that limit noise and exposure to the hospital and nearby area and it recognizes that the sight of aircraft landing and taking off will be a new experience. It will signify that someone in need is receiving urgent help during these moments.

Passersby are asked to maintain a safe distance from the helipad, noting that the aircraft generates lots of noise and “down wash” or air movement in the immediate area. People may safely watch from the road sidewalk.

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