Oct 17, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff WriterA large "H" painted in red marks the spot for a new helicopter landing pad that will be used when transporting patients to and from Riverton Memorial Hospital.
On Tuesday, a red ribbon was placed at the entrance of a fenced off concrete block. Riverton Mayor Ron Warpness, hospital CEO Steve Erixon and Classic Lifeguard vice president Jason Atkins gathered to cut the ribbon and invited guests to ride the helicopter after the ceremony.
The new helipad sits closer to the emergency entrance that faces Sunset Drive. Atkins said that in discussions with Erixon, it became clear that a second, safer helipad was needed. That first landing zone is in a parking lot and requires that patients be transported across or around the hospital.
"It's a nice safe place where a helipad should be," Erixon said of the new location.
Warpness described it as a great addition.
"For those of us who live here, we know how beneficial it is," he said.
A recent press release from RMH said the second helipad is intended to provide, "increased access to air ambulances for transferring patients who need advanced medical treatment not currently provided at RMH."
Classic Lifeguard stationed a helicopter in Riverton and built the pad in partnership with the hospital.
Atkins said the helipad in Riverton is larger than the one at Lander Regional Hospital. It also is the standard size for a major trauma center and includes a 10-foot sidewalk adjacent to the landing block. The fence, he added, can work as a deterrent to children and keep out animals and debris.
"It's a long-term investment and partnership with the hospital and the entire community," Atkins said.
Pilot Jake Reutner gave guests a tour of the inside of the helicopter. He said that the space inside is compact, but medical teams are trained to work in the tight space.
A trip to Casper would take 45 minutes, Reutner said, but the helicopter also can travel to facilities in Billings, Mont., Idaho Falls, Idaho, Salt Lake City and Colorado. Emergency teams decide on a location depending on their current location and the level of trauma.
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