B.C. Emergency Health Services has contracted a helicopter and one fixed-wing aircraft to provide the first air ambulance service dedicated to serve Vancouver Island. The aircraft are based in Nanaimo. (Photo submitted)

Island’s first dedicated air ambulances are based in Nanaimo area

B.C. Emergency Health Services contracts on one helicopter, one plane

B.C. Emergency Health Services has based its first air ambulances dedicated to serve Vancouver Island in Nanaimo and Parksville.

One helicopter and one plane have started responding to patients on the Island, the Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast.

According to a B.C. Emergency Health Services press release issued Tuesday, the organization has traditionally called for air ambulance response from Vancouver, or to contractors on the Island for help when a patient requires an air ambulance transport to hospital.

That emergency air response will now be launched from the mid-Island with a helicopter and plane to quickly transport patients from rural and remote communities such as Port Hardy, Tofino and Gold River to medical centres with higher levels of care in Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver.

READ ALSO: Air ambulance calls on Vancouver Island way down so far in 2020

READ ALSO: Petition calls for more air ambulances throughout B.C.

The added air resources come with increased in staffing that includes five critical care paramedics, doubling the number of critical care paramedics in the Nanaimo region.

The Island-dedicated air ambulance services started in mid-November and immediately began logging two to three patient air responses a day, including a recent response to a traumatic motor vehicle crash on the Island Highway, the airlift of a patient who fell from a roof near Qualicum and the transfer of a critically injured patient from Nanaimo Regional General Hospital to Victoria in a 20-minute long flight that avoided a lengthy trip by ground ambulance.

BCEHS has partnered with Ascent Helicopters for the air ambulance helicopter, a specialized MD Helicopters MD902 with night-vision technology, to be based in Parksville, and Alkan Air which has contracted to BCEHS one of its turbo-prop planes operating out of Nanaimo Airport.

“As Islanders, we know our communities, local landscape, geography and weather. Our mid-Island location means we can respond quickly and most efficiently to the south, the north and the west coasts,” said Trent Lemke, Ascent Helicopters president and CEO, in the press release.

The BCEHS air ambulance program is made up of a dedicated fleet of six helicopters and 10 planes that respond to critical patient hospital transfers and to emergency 911 medical calls. About 90 per cent of air ambulance responses are transfers between hospitals.

Helicopters, based in Parksville, Vancouver, Kamloops, Prince George and Prince Rupert, are generally more efficient for short distances of less than 250 kilometres and responding to accident scenes, or to transport patients rooftop to rooftop between two hospitals, says BCEHS.

Transports longer than 250 kilometres are better handle by planes, based in Vancouver, Nanaimo, Kelowna, Prince George and Fort St. John. BCEHS can also call upon more than 30 pre-qualified air carriers around the province to provide service as needed.

BCEHS responds to more than 7,000 patients requiring air ambulance transport annually.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC Health

 

B.C. Emergency Health Services has contracted a helicopter and one fixed-wing aircraft to provide the first air ambulance service dedicated to serve Vancouver Island. The helicopter is based in Parksville and the plane will be based in Nanaimo. (Photo submitted)

B.C. Emergency Health Services has contracted a helicopter and one fixed-wing aircraft to provide the first air ambulance service dedicated to serve Vancouver Island. The helicopter is based in Parksville and the plane will be based in Nanaimo. (Photo submitted)

Just Posted

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two Nanaimo care-home residents have died during COVID-19 outbreak

Death reported Monday was the second related to Chartwell Malaspina outbreak, says Island Health

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Members of the BC RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) were deployed to Drummond Park opposite of Fulford Habour on Saltspring Island after the discovery of a suspicious cylindrical-shaped device on Jan. 20. (Google/Screencap)
UPDATED: Bomb disposal unit still determining nature of suspicious device found on Salt Spring Island

Police say a resident discovered the device Wednesday morning in Drummond Park opposite BC Ferries terminal

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The objectives of the Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society include peer support for parents and caregivers, as well as developing support services, projects, educational and employment opportunities for people with Down Syndrome. Photo supplied.
Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society offers support for families in the community

New non-profit seeking directors in cities across Vancouver Island

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

The Rogers Creek Trail main trailhead is located on the Redford Extension in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Hiker rescued after cold few hours in the bush outside Port Alberni

Alberni Valley Rescue Squad said they receive frequent calls for people lost on this trail

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

The Victoria Fire Department extinguished a 15 foot tent fire in the 500-block of Ellice Street Jan. 19. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police investigating after 15-foot flames engulf tent

Flames damage nearby business in 500-block of Ellice Street

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Hecht Beach cabin in ashes. (Submitted)
Beloved secret cabin lost to fire on the North Island’s west coast

The trappers cabin was shared with locals, but kept mostly secret

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Most Read