BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) is installing night vision imaging technology in three dedicated air ambulance helicopters, which will permit pilots to safely reach more patients in the dark.
Critical patients who require care and transport between northern and coastal health care facilities as well as critical patients at the scene of emergencies in northern and coastal BC will benefit most from the implementation of the night vision imaging system (NVIS).
NVIS is used primarily by search-and-rescue and law enforcement. The installation and associated training for flight crews will be completed in early 2018.
The helicopters, operated by Helijet, are based in Vancouver and Prince Rupert. BCEHS expects to expand the night-vision technology to the Kamloops air ambulance helicopter later in 2018.
- The BCEHS air ambulance fleet has a total of 11 aircraft: four helicopters and seven fixed-wing aircraft based in Vancouver, Victoria, Kamloops, Kelowna, Fort St. John, Prince George and Prince Rupert.
- The four helicopters are operated by contractors: three by Helijet International, and one by Summit Helicopters.
- Approximately 2,000 patients were transported by helicopter air ambulances last year. Of those flights, 432 originated in Prince Rupert and 1,382 in Vancouver.
- About 10 per cent of all air ambulance transports are emergency 911 responses completed by air ambulance helicopters.
Linda Lupini, BCEHS/PHSA Executive Vice President –
“Enhancing our air ambulance program is a key part of our plans to build a sustainable emergency health care service that meets the needs of all British Columbians.”
Brendan McCormick, Helijet Director of Flight Operations–
“This equipment will significantly enhance our current air ambulance service delivery, allowing us to provide services where and when we couldn't before."