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Night vision comes to Kamloops air ambulance

Local BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) helicopter pilots will feel safer about transporting patients at night, after getting approved to use night vision goggles last night (Dec. 11). 

Air ambulance pilots have been training with the aviation night vision imaging system for a while now and were officially allowed to use the technology on flights in the Interior as of yesterday.

“This equipment is a big change in how paramedics can respond to patients in central B.C. We are excited about our ability to provide enhanced safety when responding to medical emergencies at night,” says Tammy Schiere, BCEHS interim director of aviation, in a news release.

It's not that nighttime helicopter flights out of Kamloops weren't allowed before this technology was approved. This is just a measure to improve safety.

“Putting night goggles on means it is much, much safer," says Steven Williams, chief pilot for Summit Helicopters, in the release. "You can actually see the mountains below you in the dark. Once pilots wear the technology, they never want to fly without the goggles at night again.”

Transport Canada regulations allow air ambulances to take off and land at lit airports and helicopter pads during hours of darkness.

The BCEHS paramedic team responds to about 25 medical emergencies a month using the Kamloops-based air ambulance helicopter. This year, the critical care paramedic crew has responded by air to more than 280 patient events.



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