The Mount Isa based North Queensland Helicopter Rescue Service (NQ Rescue) has secured approval from the Queensland government to be included in the state’s aeromedical retrieval network to provide medical and rescue services to the state’s greater northwest.
The February 24 approval comes after more than a year of trying negotiations between NQ Rescue and the Department of Emergency Services, and is subject to the rescue service meeting strict operational guidelines set out by Emergency Management Queensland (EMQ) including helicopter type, medical interior configuration, communications and navigation equipment, and the standards required of the personnel operating them.
Currently, NQ Rescue is without a helicopter, having returned its leased Bell 206L LongRanger, VH-ZOW, to the Sunshine Coast Helicopter Rescue Service (operators of the AGL Action Rescue helicopter) in November. However, securing of the government’s approval breathes new life into the helicopter rescue service, which launched in early 2007 using a leased Bell 206 JetRanger.
“NQ Rescue embraces the challenges ahead in securing the funds required to place an appropriate rescue helicopter service in the northwest,” said Alex Dorr, CEO and founder of NQ Rescue, who now needs to raise the required $1.5 million to source and operate a BK117 – the service’s desired type. “NQ Rescue acknowledges the enormity of the task ahead but equally sees the overwhelming benefit this service will bring to the entire northwest region and the people who live here.”
NQ Rescue (previously the Mount Isa Community Helicopter) hopes to be operating a BK117 and providing HEMS to the remote communities in the north western Queensland by year’s end. Assuming the funds are raised and a suitably equipped BK117 is found NQ Rescue will carry a Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) paramedic on every mission.
Read more about the birth and challenges faced by Australia’s newest civil rescue helicopter service in the July 2008 issue of Australian Aviation.