BELLE — Ozark Central Ambulance District (OCAD) plans for a helipad in Belle has gained more momentum due to increased donations of time and material and could be completed relatively …
BELLE — Ozark Central Ambulance District (OCAD) plans for a helipad in Belle has gained more momentum due to increased donations of time and material and could be completed relatively quickly.
Low funds have been an obstacle to the project’s completion, but with help from people and businesses in the local area these barriers are being overcome.
Construction of the helipad began a few months ago, with the initial work being provided at no charge by Josh Newton with the use of equipment donated by Frank and Cindy Butler.
Local businessman Kevin Guffey, who has a history of community involvement, has said he will donate the concrete material for the pad. Charity for community betterment continued with the announcement from Cary Bouse, owner of Bouse Contracting, LLC, that his company will donate labor for the construction of the helipad.
A designated helipad will provide a consistent, safe landing zone for air medical transport teams. While areas such as the Belle City Park in the space north of the tennis courts are currently being used. This area is not secured and is a natural surface, which can be the cause of issues.
OCAD Board President Cindy Butler said, “Certain aspects of the landing zone (natural zones) are not consistent. Examples would be crowd control and lighting, and surface hazards such as fire or mud.”
Butler also wanted residents to know that a designated helipad does not avoid all scene flights. There will continue to be times where landing zones will have to be held away from the helipad, but those conditions would have to be determined by medical personnel on scene at emergencies.
“This helipad will provide another layer of safety for all emergency responders; both the air transport teams and emergency medical services, as well as the patient,” said Butler.
Butler advised that anyone wishing to improve the emergency response in their community should seek out opportunities with their local fire departments.
“First responders, fire services, and traffic/crowd control are always needed,” said Butler. “If you have an active license that would allow you to be a member of the Ozark Ambulance District, seek employment.”
Currently there is not a set date for completion of the helipad. Weather and availability of those donating their time are huge factors in the construction, but those who have committed are working diligently to see the project through.