10,000 missions for our rescue helicopter
THE red and yellow markings of the Lismore-based Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter is a well-known sight in the region.
Flying high since 1982, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter makes around 400 missions annually to assist people injured in car crashes and Hazmat incidents, house fires and floods, search and rescue, pre-hospital emergencies and inter-hospital transfers.
On Monday, the service’s chief executive Richard Jones said they recently reached a significant milestone by flying its 10,000th mission.
“The mission was a tasking to perform a patient transfer between two hospitals in our region,” he said.
“The mission was no different to any other to the extent that our first priority was to ensure the patient and medical team were transported as safely and efficiently as possible”.
Mr Jones said along with Tamworth and Belmont, the Lismore base is one of three operations providing an integrated helicopter emergency medical service throughout the Northern half of NSW and flying on average over 1500 missions per year.
Mr Jones said the region’s first Westpac Rescue Helicopter was officially launched in Ballina December 1982 thanks to the vision of individuals and organisations such as Elton Cummings, Graham Smith, John Bradfield and Surf Life Saving Far North Coast.
In partnership with NSW Ambulance, the local service now completes on average of over 400 missions each year from Lismore airport and operates 24-7 with a NSW Ambulance Critical Care Paramedic and NSW Health Doctor providing advanced medical care on every mission.
Mr Jones said from the start, communities have passionately supported the need for a rescue helicopter.
“This milestone is a chance to acknowledge everyone, including former figure heads of Fundraising Committees and Boards: Wal Gillam, Bruce Duncan, Michael Byrne, Harold Fredricks and Warren Tozer, CEOs Perry Wells and Kris Beavis, Patron of the Service Mr Ken Jolley, former Board and Fundraising Committee members, former volunteers including Mary and Emily Betteridge along with all former staff who have been associated with this regions helicopter services throughout the past 38 years,” he said.
“This includes lifeguards and volunteers like Surf Life Saving, the VRA, SES and Marine Rescue and the wonderful hospital medical staff”.