The recent emergency responses by Ornge air ambulance services in rural Canada have been drawing a lot of ire. For one, they have refused more than once to land on certain helipads consistently. The reason being cited is the lack of lights during the nighttime.
In this context, one must understand that it is a policy at Ornge air ambulance services not to land on dimly lit helipads. This policy came into effect after the country’s air ambulance service saw two major mishaps. However, the emergency response officials now claim that Ornge air ambulance services are refusing to land in most parts of rural Canada in spite of the availability of well lit helipads.
The Response of Ornge Air Ambulance Services
While the popular opinion has been that Ornge is not training its pilot enough to confidently land during the nighttime, the authorities at Ornge have differed on the issue. They revealed that sometimes the illumination is not enough to land on these helipads. Dr. Andrew McCallum who is the CEO as well as the president of the organization said sometimes there is a “black hole” illusion created that disorients the pilots.
Other Problem that Air Ambulance Services Need to Consider
There is another rule at Ornge air ambulance services. It states that there must have been a landing at a particular helipad at least once in the past six months. Only then would the pilots be allowed to land there. For people of rural Canada, this is a Catch-22 situation.
Take for instance East Parry Sound. The community here actually raised money to maintain the helipad and did so. However, it was in for a rude shock when Ornge air ambulance services refused to land in the area, in spite of it being well maintained. The reason: no Ornge chopper had landed there in the past six months.
In light of the above findings, one is forced to question whether Ornge is mitigating its risks through inaction.