A Bell 212 Helicopter, owned by CC Helicopters, has been seen in the skies around Barriere over the past few months a number of times. The chopper is attending on medivac missions to provide emergency medical transport for those in need.
Most recently the chopper arrived in Barriere with two paramedics, and pilots Brad Lillow and Katie McMillan,. They were there to transport a patient from the Barriere Medical Center to the hospital in Kelowna.
Lillow said the transport time would be decreased by more than half for the critically ill patient, compared to regular ambulance service on the ground.
While waiting for the paramedics to arrive at the chopper with the patient, the pilots gave this reporter a tour of the modernly equipped interior of the aircraft; which has everything the specially trained paramedics may require.
The crew always includes two pilots, and two attendants to safeguard against emergencies during flight.
This eight week pilot project for a “dedicated helicopter ambulance service” has now come to an end, but proponents for this project are actively working to have the service permanently installed in Kamloops.
Trevor Moor, president/owner of CC Helicopters says, “I’d like to get a contract with Interior Health to give certainty to the service, instead of the current ad-hoc basis that is being used now that the early study is finished.”
The information from the pilot program is still being analyzed by Interior Health and the B.C. Ambulance Service at this time.
Moor related a recent flight to a hunting lodge near Williams Lake. “It took the helicopter 50 minutes to get there, if an ambulance had been dispatched it would have taken two-and-a-half hours to reach the lodge.”
Moor says the aircraft is basically a flying ambulance; and although the pilot project has been completed the chopper is still available 12 hours a day, seven days a week, to fly to medivac calls.
So for now, area residents will still be seeing the medivac helicopter set down in Barriere when the need arises.