THUNDER BAY – Ornge, a world leader in the field of transport medicine, is introducing what the company states is “the most significant fleet upgrade in the history of aero medical transport in Ontario. The first of the new AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters were unveiled at the Ornge base at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on September 23rd.
The new helicopters will transport Ornge’s medical teams who provide services for patients requiring advanced and critical levels of care during transport.
Ornge paramedics and pilots employed by CHL, the operator of Ornge rotor aircraft, will begin transporting patients in the new high?performance medium twin turbine helicopters over the coming months. Ornge purchased ten AW139 aircraft from AgustaWestland, a Finnmeccanica company, in 2008 to replace the older fleet of Sikorsky S76 helicopters currently in use at Ornge bases across the province.
Patients across Northwestern Ontario will now benefit from Canada’s first Transport Medicine Centre of Excellence. The new facility based in Thunder Bay, Ontario is like no other: an integrated building housing a PC-12 Pilatus airplane, a Sikorsky S76 helicopter, and a land ambulance.
The new facility in Thunder Bayt will be officially opened on Saturday.
Ornge Ontario, the organization that provides transport medicine to Ontario patients are pleased to welcome this new centre, which will assist in providing patients living and working in Northwestern Ontario with access to the highest quality healthcare services.
“This centre is more than just a hub for transport medicine; it’s about changing and enhancing patient care throughout Northwestern Ontario,” said Tom Lepine, Chief Operating Officer for Ornge. “Its facilities like these that demonstrate Ornge’s commitment to the residents in our Northern communities.”
This cutting-edge facility will help to ensure that Ontario’s most critically ill and injured patients living in Northwestern Ontario receive the highest level of medical care, regardless of where they live.
The Transport Medicine Centre of Excellence will house not only Ornge’s aircraft and a land vehicle, but also a state-of-the-art simulation training room for Ornge paramedics being trained with Ornge’s Academy of Transport Medicine.
The centre also features a patient waiting area and a communication station, which will allow Ornge’s Transport Medicine Physician in Thunder Bay to connect with Ornge operations anywhere across Ontario.
“The Transport Medicine Centre of Excellence affirms Ornge’s important role in the delivery of health services in Northern Ontario and its commitment to residents in the smaller communities within our region who require medical transport as part of their care,” said Minister Michael Gravelle, MPP Thunder Bay – Superior North.
“For the residents of Thunder Bay, this centre means skilled jobs and training opportunities in our community, and improved patient care for the region,” said Bill Mauro, MPP Thunder Bay – Atikokan.
“As innovators in our field, we are on the cutting edge of both aviation and medicine,” said Dr. Christopher Mazza, Ornge CEO and Emergentologist. “The AW139 medically?equipped aircraft will help us to deliver a modern, high quality, sustainable transport medicine program for Ontario patients today and for generations to come.”
The AW139 is the most technologically advanced rotor wing aircraft in air medical transport today. The fastest helicopter in its class, it is capable of operating in a wide variety of weather conditions – from extreme heat to extreme cold – found across Ontario’s one million square kilometers. Ornge is the first AgustaWestland client in
North America to have a full ice protection installed in medically equipped helicopters.
The AW139 also has enhanced safety and environmental features.
Giuseppe Orsi, Chief Executive Officer, AgustaWestland said: “We are proud to be part of this new era in transport medicine in Ontario providing the best medium twin helicopter to such a leading operator and to the benefit of the large community they serve. The AW139 will enable Ornge to perform a quantum leap forward in operational capability to successfully accomplish the mission and save lives in the harshest conditions when other models would be confined to the hangar.”
Each helicopter is outfitted with an advanced full medical interior designed and configured by Ornge transport medicine physicians and paramedics in collaboration with Aerolite, a world leader in medical helicopter and fixed?wing aircraft interiors.
In January 2006, Ornge began coordinating all aspects of the province’s transport medicine system. Since then, Ornge has transported nearly 95,000 patients more than 30 million statute miles – over 1,200 times around the earth ?? in its rotor and fixed wing aircraft, along with its critical care land units.