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

Thieves can’t steal Nanaimo’s tubbing spirit

Thieves pilfer motors, but good friends and hard work get tubbers back on course

Youth council chairman wants to move up to Nanaimo city council

Michael Ribicic declares candidacy in fall’s local government election

Tilray shares show gains in opening trading

Investors buy, sell in rush on stock offered by Nanaimo-based cannabis producer

‘Extremely heavy’ bench stolen from Nanaimo park

Distinctive bench taken from Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park

B.C. Supreme Court issues fire safety order for Discontent City

Discontent City has one week to comply with fire order

Through your lens: Okanagan wildfires

Check out some of the captivating images and video from social media of the wildfires

Beefs & Bouquets, July 19

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Final arguments made at tent city hearing, court won’t rule immediately

Lawyer says City of Nanaimo is concerned occupants would consume hand sanitizer

UPDATED: Cougar shot by police in Nanaimo

Shooting occurred in water at Nanaimo Yacht Club at about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday

NRE will sell its land, plans for a new depot there are ‘over’

Nanaimo Recycling Exchange board decides to sell Kenworth Road property

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

No decision on B.C. school stabbing suspect’s mental fitness for trial

The BC Review Board could not determine whether Gabriel Klein, 21, is fit to stand trial

Canadian government threatens to retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs

U.S president had suggested that auto imports pose a national security risk to the U.S.

Wildfire evacuation order forces bride to search for new wedding venue

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards is under an order due to the Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland

Most Read