“Being on the front line, side by side with our community, it has never been so humbling to know that the donation support we receive enabled us to respond in such desperate times”. Nathan Scard, Lismore Pilot and Base Manager
Already this year we have seen our Northern Rivers communities devastated by record-breaking flooding. This follows the recent years of natural disasters including floods, bushfires, and the continued presence of the pandemic throughout our NSW flight area (from the Hawkesbury River to the QLD border and west to include Dubbo and Lightning Ridge).
This End of Financial Year, we want to share with you the role our teams played in the response to the recent floods and thank the Community for their continued support of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
The importance of our partnership with NSW Ambulance and NSW Health has never been more evident, enabling us to provide pre-hospital emergency care to people in life threatening situations throughout the crisis. While news coverage highlighted the incredible rooftop rescues, our teams were also flying emergency aeromedical support to those in desperate need. At the peak we saw over 50 missions flown in just 2 weeks, with our Belmont aircraft relocated to assist with the response. Your donations help keep us ready to respond at such times.
Our Service itself was not spared, with extensive damage to our Lismore Base and the loss of our volunteer run Lismore Op Shop. As our team on shift the morning of the flood departed the Base they could see their own vehicles, the Base itself and the surrounding community succumbing to the rising waters.
It was less than 500m from our Base that the first rescue took place, beginning one of the busiest weeks in our history.
Nathan Scard, our Lismore Base Manager and Pilot was on Base as the disaster unfolded.
“It is hard to put it into words just how overwhelming the sight of seeing that much water coming up from all directions was for everyone on shift at the time. It hit home very quickly just how much trouble the town and region was going to be in once the team was airborne”.
This disaster is just one example of how the Rescue Helicopter assists the community in times of desperation. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, in partnership with NSW Ambulance and NSW Health, we have responded to almost 3,000 calls for help and in every instance we have needed to take extra precautions to care for patients and our Rescue Teams due to the ever-lingering presence of COVID.
It has been an unbelievable period for so many people who live throughout the regions that our Belmont, Tamworth and Lismore bases serve and support.
As a member of our community, you should be proud of the remarkable efforts made by every person in our Rescue Helicopter family delivering the lifesaving support that has been needed during these trying times. We ask, if you are in a position to do so, that you consider donating to our End of Financial Year Appeal to help keep us ready to respond in any situation.
Thank you for being a Rescue Helicopter supporter and for standing side by side with us. A special thank you in advance if you are able to help us once again.