October 18, 2011
Humboldt General Hospital's helicopter landing pad has changed locations to what hospital officials say will be a safer and more manageable area.
The hospital's new helipad is located on Haskell Street, across the street from the hospital campus. Up until the hospital's most recent expansion, the helipad had been stationed in the hospital parking lot-a location that HGH CEO/Administrator Jim Parrish said made everyone feel uneasy.
"We were landing a helicopter in a parking lot where our patients and visitors parked," he explained as the overriding concern. "Plus, our pilots were dealing with power lines, poor lighting and a very cramped space."
To top things off, Parrish said the hospital had to impose on local law enforcement officers to provide a secure perimeter every time a helicopter landed.
"It certainly was not an ideal situation," said Parrish.
In early 2010, as the hospital looked to undertake its latest expansion project, Parrish said he and architects reviewed what they determined to be all the possible options for constructing a new helipad.
"We considered a different parking lot placement, we considered landing on top of the hospital, we even considered landing at the airport and providing ground transport there," said Parrish.
No location offered a safe option until he and others began looking at the railroad property lining Haskell Street. "All of a sudden, we found a solution," said Parrish. "We could provide a safe landing place which would be out of the way to passersby, but would still be very accessible to us."
"Plus," he added, "we would be able to provide additional parking for our employees-something that is always at a premium."
As opposed to the helipad's previous location, the new relocated port was specifically designed for its purpose.
The new port limits helicopters' approach paths to the south, southwest and west. The entire area has been fenced and landscaped and is sufficiently distant from Haskell Street that, beyond the casual interest of passersby, it will not pose a traffic or safety hazard.
Helicopter pilots control the landing pad lights from the air so they are able to land safely without the police department surrounding the site as before.
The location also includes a specially designed load ramp for ambulances that transport patients from the hospital's Emergency Department to the new helipad.
"Our concern from the beginning was for our patients' safety as well as for that of the public," said Parrish. "We believe this new location serves both purposes."
For more information on Humboldt General Hospital's new helipad, please contact CEO/Administrator Jim Parrish at (775) 623-5222, ext. 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.