The Road Ahead : April May 2012
WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU THE ROAD AHEAD APR/MAY 2012 12 COMMUNITY RESCUE SERVICE motto 'when minutes matter' underlines the real difference helicopter rescue services can make in life and death situations, especially in remote areas. Covering an area of more than 500,000 square kilometres, the latest addition to the RACQ-sponsored fleet will service the aero-medical and rescue response needs of the local mining and grazing communities of the north-west of the state. The service area reaches north to Mornington Island in the Gulf, south to Birdsville, west to the Northern Territory border and east to Richmond, bolstering the existing RACQ-sponsored network of RACQ CareFlight, RACQ CQ Rescue and RACQ Capricorn Rescue, to cover almost all of the state. RACQ's sponsorship coincided with State Government support of the service late last year, taking RACQ NQ Rescue to a 24-hour service, complete with fully-qualified crewman and a full- time intensive care flight paramedic. According to RACQ NQ Rescue chief executive officer Alex Dorr, this step up in capacity has made a big difference in the Mt Isa community, especially in the extra support it provides to existing emergency services including Queensland Ambulance Service, Royal Flying Doctor Service, Queensland Police Service and Queensland Fire and Rescue Service. "Previously a helicopter would be sent over from Cairns or Townsville," Mr Dorr said. "This would take four to five hours and then they'd need to refuel. Ta k ing a helicopter this far out would then create a vacuum in the system. "Now that we have our own service that is available to immediately respond to call-outs, it makes a big difference." The upgrade to the service occurred just in time for the summer wet season, with the service kept particularly busy during January answering a variety of calls for assistance including medical evacuations and search and rescues due to flooding in the area. RACQ group chief executive officer Ian Gillespie said that he was proud the club was naming rights sponsor of RACQ NQ Rescue for the next three years, allowing it to play such a vital role in the skies above Mt Isa and much of the west and north of the state. "The RACQ-sponsored helicopters fly almost 4000 missions a year and I expect that number to increase dramatically with the addition of the NQ 'chopper'," Mr Gillespie said. "Like RACQ, the four services making up this helicopter network provide peace of mind 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. "In the case of the rescue helicopters and their dedicated crews, their work can literally mean the difference between life and death. I want to congratulate Alex Dorr and his team in Mt Isa for their dedication to making this service a reality, along with the State Government for providing the necessary support to get it flying," he said. RACQ welcomes the latest addition to the RACQ Helicopter Rescue Network -- Mt Isa-based RACQ NQ Rescue. racq expands 'chopper' fleet STORY BELINDA PETERS IMAGES: RACQ NQ RESCUE MEDIVACS A PATIENT FROM A REMOTE SITE. FLOODING CUTS HIGHWAY, PROMPTING ANOTHER CALL FOR HELP.
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