BC Ambulance Service used the overflow parking lot between Superstore and the Washington Inn Apartments as the transfer point for the medical evacuation of two trauma patients involved in a motor vehicle collision in Courtenay on Thursday, Feb. 15. Photo by Terry Farrell

Air ambulance used parking lot for patient transfer because it was most efficient option

Lack of certification for helipad at Comox Valley Hospital not a factor in decision

BC Ambulance Service used the gravel parking lot between Superstore and the Washington Inn Apartments as a transfer area for the medical evacuation of trauma patients from Thursday’s car collision in Courtenay, because that was the most efficient option.

Fatima Siddiqui, media relations for BC Ambulance Service, said when it comes to medical emergencies, the air ambulances will land in the most practical, convenient, and closest spot available – be that an airport, highway, football field, or, as was the case Thursday, an overflow parking lot.

“Ultimately, the pilots will decide where they land,” said Siddiqui. “In this scenario, we had local first responders on the ground that … let us know that the area where we did land was safe for both helicopters to land, so that’s why that was chosen.”

Speculation that the parking lot was used because the helipad at the new North Island Hospital Comox Valley Campus is not yet certified by Transport Canada is misguided, said Siddiqui. She pointed out that when it comes to emergency medical evacuations, certified landing pads are not required.

“It [certification] actually has nothing to do with our decision about where to land. That’s just not necessarily part of the protocol, to [use hospital facilities] where we would not be taking the patient anyway.

“Last week we used a football field. We’ve landed on Highway 1, in Langley, where there are hospitals with certified landing pads. It’s very common for us to just land wherever we are told there is space for our helicopters.”

Siddiqui said the call for two air ambulances was made by crew at the scene of the crash.

“When we have an incident with multiple patients, our triage system allows us to determine what the condition of the patients are. When we have [multiple] patients in critical conditions, we tend not to double up, in terms of putting patients into the same [air] ambulance. In this instance we provided two different ambulances.”

BC Ambulance Service has a fleet of four regular, full-time air ambulances, as well as contracts with carriers throughout the province.

Both helicopters used in Thursday’s transport were from the regular fleet.

Just Posted

Suspect who died at Nanaimo ferry terminal shot himself at the same time police fired

Officers didn’t commit any offence, says police watchdog office

Three strong earthquakes reported off Vancouver Island

The quakes, all measuring more than 6.0 on the richter scale, were about 260 kilometres west of Tofino

Eighty-eight year old woman keeps shaving her head for Tour de Rock

NANAIMO - Senior parts with hair to raise $10,000 for Cops for Cancer

OPINION: Nanaimo not only voted, but voted with purpose

Nanaimo’s civic leadership will see the change that so many wanted

Explosion at homeless camp causes brush fire along Millstone

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews haul hundreds of metres of hose down ravine

ELECTION DAY: Krog voted in as Nanaimo’s next mayor

Hemmens, Armstrong, Geselbracht, Brown, Turley, Bonner, Thorpe and Maartman elected as councillors

New monitoring of vessel noise impact on endangered whales announced

Federal government to monitor underwater ship and mammal noise in B.C.’s Salish Sea

Used election signs could serve as emergency shelters, B.C. candidate says

Langley Township council hopeful wants to build one-person foul weather shelters for homeless

Liberals write off $6.3 billion in loans as part of money never to be collected

That includes student loans and a $2.6 billion write off that came through Export Development Canada

Trudeau, McKenna to announce compensation for federal carbon plan

Provinces that don’t have a carbon price of at least $20 per tonne of emissions will have Ottawa’s plan forced on them

UPDATE: American rapper killed in skydiving accident

Man, 34, dies in skydiving accident Saturday near Westwold, between Vernon and Kelowna

Voter turnout at 36% in B.C.’s municipal election

Vancouver saw 39% turnout, Surrey saw 33%

Harry and Meghan travel in different style on Australia tour

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on day seven of their 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

AP Exclusive: Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair, thesis for sale

The online auction features 22 items from Hawking, including his doctoral thesis on the origins of the universe, with the sale scheduled for 31 October and 8 November.

Most Read