Using helicopters to transport ill and injured patients has become an integral part of modern emergency care. Each year, thousands of patients are transported via helicopters throughout the United States. This is one of the many reason’s hospital managers should proactively maintain their facilities' helipad. The real-life accident described below highlights the importance of hospital heliport safety.
On May 29, 2008, an emergency medical services (EMS) helicopter crashed on a rooftop hospital heliport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and caught fire. The aircraft occupants — the pilot and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) examiner — both escaped, but the burning wreckage blocked the only legitimate exits from the roof, including an elevator and stair tower. The survivors were forced to hide from the heat and flames by climbing down onto an air handling duct just below the rooftop level and remained there until help arrived. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the aircraft's tail rotor struck a radio antenna located on the roof next to the landing pad as it attempted to depart, resulting in a crash and fire.
This course takes a closer look at the hazards and possible solutions involving heliports in a hospital setting, including equipment, noise, as well as fueling hazards.
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