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Kamloops upgrades hospital helipad
November 5, 2012
Canadian Skies Magazine

British Columbia’s Interior Health and BC Ambulance Service have unveiled Royal Inland Hospital’s (RIH’s) new heliport in Kamloops, BC.

The heliport meets current Transport Canada requirements for landing helicopters up to 17.5 m in length and 7,711 kg (17,000 lbs) takeoff weight. The upgraded heliport is in the same location as the previously used site, however it extends further east with a concrete platform supported on concrete pillars, jutting out over the hillside.

The opening of the new heliport at Royal Inland Hospital is good news for rural and remote communities surrounding Kamloops,” said Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake. "The new heliport will support physicians and patients living in these smaller communities by providing them with better and faster access to critical care."

In August 2010, Transport Canada notified Interior Health that the heliport at Royal Inland was too small and didn’t meet current requirements.

Since the Transport Canada notification BCAS had been using the Kamloops airport for landings until fall 2011, when the City of Kamloops offered short term use of a city works yard property next to the river. The Mission Flats site was used by BCAS as an interim measure, reducing the critical transfer time of the patient to the hospital by ground ambulance.

The project was completed at the end of September, certification was received from Transport Canada on Oct. 4, and air ambulance landings recommenced on Oct. 10.

"The reopening of this helipad supplements BC Ambulance Service’s dedicated helicopter air ambulance service that has been serving the Central Interior since August 2011," said Randy MacLeod, BC Ambulance Service Unit chief. "Access to this helipad helps paramedics to provide rapid response and high-quality care to critically ill or injured patients."

The Thompson Regional Hospital District funded 40 percent of the $750,000 cost to upgrade the heliport.

"The development and certification of this new heliport supports communities throughout Interior Health, particularly outlying rural communities which rely on the support of the air ambulance for vital medical transport in their time of need," says Regional Hospital District chair Peter Milobar.

Since September 2011, BCAS has operated approximately 300 air ambulance flights to and from Kamloops.

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