Ken Franklin was warmly welcomed and he started his speech with a thank you to all the organisations that assist with the Rescue helicopter service including St John and the Fire Service.
He outlined the challenges even before the rescue mission is initiated, including the administrative and environmental (weather, night flying, over the sea) missions, however the biggest challenge was always the delivery of the right response to the patient.
A poignant video was run, which left the audience very much quieter and reflective of what the helicopter crews faced on a daily basis.
Ken was proud of the service and for good reason; The Otago Rescue Helicopter delivers the:
  • Fastest response time
  • Highest safety award
  • Lowest cost per flying hour
  • Highest qualified paramedics
  • Most qualified helicopter pilots
The service has a unique operating structure which collaborates with the ICU team, to ensure a specialist on board for the given situation.
The service has challenges ahead with changes signaled by Government, that competitive dialogues are to be held with other service providers, including those from overseas.  However, Ken is confident in the future due to the world class service that has been the history of Otago Rescue Helicopter for over 20 years.
The stories Ken told were inspiring: The story of a man losing his hand, flown to Christchurch and in 8 weeks back to work with movement in his hand. Another most amazing story was of a man with a dying son, driving to hospital and realizing his son would die before he had finished driving through Milton, phoning 111 and before the conversation was over the helicopter was landing beside him in a field, the boy was saved.
The helicopters themselves are truly a high technology flying intensive care units. They are the BK117 generation two and some statistics on these include:
Use of digital technology that reduced the lost flying days due to weather conditions down to only 1 in 5 days.
Auto piloting – required technology that converted digital back to analogue and then back to digital.
Ken finished his speech with questions from the floor, and everyone’s attention continued to be held for this very fascinating and interesting evening.
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