St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox awaiting helipad approval

The retrofit of the St. Joseph's General Hospital helipad has reached substantial completion.
It now awaits final recertification from Transport Canada and the completion of the retrofit of helicopters recently purchased by government.

STAFF FROM St. Joseph’s General Hospital mark the completion of the helipad retrofit.

STAFF FROM St. Joseph’s General Hospital mark the completion of the helipad retrofit.

The retrofit of the St. Joseph’s General Hospital helipad has reached substantial completion.It now awaits final recertification from Transport Canada and the completion of the retrofit of helicopters recently purchased by government.It has been approximately one year of work since Transport Canada reviewed all helipads on Vancouver Island and throughout Canada and applied its new standards, which halted some helicopter landings.With this retrofit, the helipad at St. Joseph’s will now  receive the H1 designation, allowing it to receive scheduled landings from dual-engine, H1-certified helicopters, which includes the Cormorant, BC Air Ambulance Service and emergency landings from all other helicopters, according to St. Joseph’s. The Vancouver Island Health Authority and the Comox-Strathcona Regional Hospital District cost-shared the $160,000 upgrade, which provides a new, more substantive pad at a specific angle in a particular location with new markings, a distinctive directional arrow, new lighting arrangements and windsock relocation to the roof of the hospital facility.   “The proximity of air ambulance access to the emergency department in the hospital cannot be underestimated,” said Dr. Jason Wale, director of the emergency department at St. Joseph’s. “It saves minutes in the transfer, allows critical specialty doctors and nurses to be present for the maximum amount of time prior to transport, reduces the number of times a patient must be moved.”All these are important factors in getting the patient safely to the next point in care, he noted. St. Joseph’s contracted with Stantec to draw up the specifications in accordance with Transport Canada guidelines and with C&W Campbell Ltd. to carry out the works.“We express our appreciation to them and also recognize our engineering staff’s contribution to keep costs in line,” said Michael Pontus, St. Joseph’s president and CEO. — St. Joseph’s General Hospital

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