Ontario’s air medical transport giant, Orgne, is aggressively looking for 25 landing sites to add to their current list of prepared helipads. With a large fleet of helicopters operating from 26 bases throughout the province, Ornge makes more than 18,000 hospital admissions annually. Some are hospital-to-hospital transports, but most originate from impromptu landing sites, such as parking lots and highways that are close to the scene of the emergency.
The goal is to reduce unforeseen hazards, especially at night, by establishing helipads at locations where power lines, vehicles, and pedestrians will not interfere with the safe operation of the aircraft. A typical helipad would be 120X120 ft, and the surface might be cement, grass, or packed earth. Their boundaries would be marked with reflective cones, and some will be lighted.
Land for the new pads is being sought based upon the areas to which company aircraft respond the most, but have the least number of suitable landing zones, such as along super "400-series" highways. Special attention will also be given to remote areas in central Ontario where logging and quarry mishaps occur.
Purchasing land for new pads is an option, but most of the talks have been focused on getting permission from landowners to simply use their property as needed. The response from the government, industry, private landowners and conservation authorities has been very positive, said the company.
The company will continue to look for donated space.