Australia: LNG Industry Powers Medical Rescue Chopper
The liquefied natural gas (LNG) companies – Santos GLNG, Australia Pacific LNG, QGC and Arrow – have joined to fund an aero medical evacuation (AME) retrieval service for the Gladstone region to help ease pressures on the local medical retrieval services.
The LNG industry has provided $30 million funding towards the new rescue chopper which will be based at Gladstone Airport and available for use by industry workers on Curtis Island and also the community through the emergency services Triple Zero number.
LNG industry representative and CEO GLNG Operations Mark Macfarlane said the service was intended to cover the period of construction on Curtis Island.
“The LNG industry-funded AME chopper will provide the region with an additional medical resource for the LNG workforce, their families and the Gladstone community,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“As our workforces grow on Curtis Island to build the LNG plants we want to ensure we do not put further pressure on the emergency response services and that is why we have come together to develop a combined industry response.
“We also wanted to give something back to the community that has supported us and that is why it will form part of the Queensland Health emergency response service during its period of operation.”
The LNG industry has partnered with CareFlight Queensland an aero-medical service provider with 35 years’ experience in medical retrievals in Queensland communities.
CareFlight Queensland also meet the global oil and gas industry safety standards. Mr Macfarlane said access to the service, by both industry and the community, will be based on clinical priority as determined and coordinated by Emergency Services Queensland on a case-by-case basis.
“The helicopter will have the capability to provide telemedicine, accommodate up-to two patients at-a-time, and have limited search and rescue capability that will be made available to the Queensland Police,” Mr Macfarlane said.
Chief Executive Officer of CareFlight Queensland Ashley van de Velde said he was honoured to be working with the LNG industry to provide a medical service that works hand in hand with CareFlight Queensland’s core purpose of supporting the community.
“The net proceeds from this opportunity will further ensure the ongoing sustainability of the integral service our community-based helicopters have delivered for more than 30 years to the people of southern Queensland 24/7,” Mr Velde said
The LNG industry-funded service will support the Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service and strengthen the existing capacity of the regions medical resources.
Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service (CHRS) CEO Kay Becker welcomed the announcement of a dedicated rescue helicopter to service the workers of the LNG projects on Curtis Island.
“We will work to ensure a back-up service is available to them should the need arise and we are confident the Curtis Island service will support us should the need arise. This is a win – win for the entire Central Queensland community,” Ms Becker said.
“CHRS will still provide the rescue helicopter services to the people of Gladstone and surrounding districts as they have done for the last 16 years – there will be no change to the services provided to the people of Gladstone.”
The service will officially start operating in January.
LNG World News Staff, September 20, 2012; Image: CareFlight