South West rescue helicopter flying high with new base
Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis officially opened a new rescue helicopter base at Bunbury Airport on Wednesday 14 December, declaring it one of the most modern aircraft facilities in Australia.
The purpose built facility will house the State's second RAC Rescue helicopter, which has flown more than 330 missions, including training exercises, since it commenced operations in February this year from a temporary base.
"The new facility includes modern engineering workshops, training rooms with a flight simulator, six crew dormitory rooms, wireless blood bank monitoring, and planning and operations rooms," Mr Francis said.
"This is an invaluable community asset which will save lives and improve access to emergency medical care for people living and travelling in the region."
Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Deputy Commissioner Steve Fewster said the RAC Rescue helicopters respond to a range of incidents including road crashes, farming accidents and marine rescues.
“Getting emergency medical care to badly injured people as quickly as possibly is key to saving lives and improving patient outcomes,” Deputy Commissioner Fewster said.
“The Bunbury based RAC Rescue helicopter has already flown more than 690 mission hours, travelled more than 65,000 kilometres and transported 139 patients.
“The new base is a great asset and will help to ensure the operation of the RAC Rescue helicopter service is optimised.”
The design of the base involved consultation which included DFES, St John Ambulance, CHC Helicopters and aircraft maintenance engineers.
Both the Perth and Bunbury based rescue helicopters are managed by DFES and are sponsored by the RAC.
The new base was made possible by $6.91 million in funding through the State Government's Royalties for Regions program, which has also invested $23.04 million over four years to fund the helicopter service’s operational costs.