The Orange Health Service will recognise another important milestone this week with the first test
helicopter landing on the new roof-top helipad.
The NSW Ambulance Helicopter will touch down on the helipad on 23 February 2011 at 10am,
which will initiate the first full trial of support technologies and staff procedures for incoming and
outgoing helicopters. At the same time, the Newborn and paediatric Emergency Transport
Services (NETS) retrieval service will be bringing a road crew to the site.
Orange Health Service Director of Nursing Sue Patterson said it is important to test and practice
landing procedures, before patients are involved.
“This is a test run for all key staff, so they’re 100-percent confident in what they need to do when
the helicopter lands and they can focus on caring for patients,” said Ms Patterson.
“The design team has dedicated an exceptional amount of time into ensuring the helipad is
supported by the best technologies, so it can meet and exceed the needs of emergency response
When the helicopter landing system is initiated from the Emergency Department, a carbon filter is
switched on in the hospital air intake passage, which stops helicopter fumes from entering the
fresh air supply inside the building.
The helipad is also fitted with flood lights to ensure a clear view of the area at night and to meet
“Activating these technologies and aiding helicopter operations is the responsibility of three key
hospital staff, including the Campus Nurse Manager (CNM), a designated wards person, and
security staff,” said Ms Patterson.
“Once the CNM is informed of the helicopter’s expected time of arrival, he or she will inform the
wards person and security officer, then proceed to turn on the helipad lights and the carbon filters
via a switch in the Emergency Department.”
“The CNM will lock off the lift to the helipad, and wait for the wards person to assemble with the
patient transport trolley, before heading up to help load or unload the patient,” said Ms Patterson.
“It’s important to remember they must remain behind the air lock doors until access to the helipad
is authorised, when the helicopter has run down, the aircraft is secured, and the Pilot gives a
thumbs up,” said Ms Patterson.
A security guard will monitor the whole process by CCTV, to ensure there are no obstructions on
the helipad, or to seek further assistance if required.
“It’s only 3 weeks before we move into the new hospital, and I’m confident our employees are
ready to embrace their new working environment with confidence and proficiency,” said Ms
“More than 1200 employees have undergone extensive training in preparation for the move, and
now the final countdown is on before their knowledge is put into action.”