As COVID restrictions continue to ease, for communities across northern NSW the summer months are highly anticipated, with greater freedoms to travel, an influx of visitors to provide a boost to local businesses and time to finally connect with family and friends.
However, for Westpac Rescue Helicopter operational teams, the summer months are usually the busiest.
‘Traditionally summer is our busiest period, with people on holidays and outdoors taking advantage of the warm weather,’ Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service CEO Richard Jones OAM said.
‘We anticipate that there will be an even greater demand for our services this summer, with people who have endured lockdowns and border restrictions, making the most of their new-found freedom,’ he said.
In preparation, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service has launched a Summer Appeal, which will bolster Service funding, impacted significantly in recent months from an inability to undertake regular fundraising activities and community support initiatives cancelled due to COVID.
For the Northern Rivers, the Service is a vital link in the State’s health care chain with the Rescue Helicopter being a real difference in patient outcomes and no one knows the importance more than Lismore’s Scott Jones.
Scott was seriously burnt in a gas explosion and fire at Lismore Turf Club, stabilised and placed into an induced coma on scene by the Helicopter Critical Care Medical Team and flown to Brisbane Hospital.
‘They are an essential service for us here in the North,’ Scott said. ‘They provide vital aeromedical support and access to major emergency facilities for our communities. So, our support for their appeal this summer helps ensure they continue to bring the very best care to the people of our region.’
‘I hear it so often from people that they hope they never need the rescue helicopter but like myself, they are extremely grateful that they know it is there if needed,’ Scott said.
‘Northern NSW has many attractions that will draw visitors into our Region, plus we service our normal population of over 1.5 million people across our three bases. Our crews will be called upon regularly across summer to provide life changing emergency aeromedical support to those in need,’ Jones continued.
‘With significant impact to our fundraising and support activities recently, this Appeal is an important boost to our fundraising efforts,’ Jones concluded.
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Summer Appeal commences on November 9 and tax-deductible donations can be made up until December 31 by visiting www.rescuehelicopter.com.au/Appeal or by phoning 1800 155 155.