Servicing an area four times the size of Tasmania, RACQ CQ rescue services average one rescue every day.
The month of January has seen RACQ roll out the Change for Choppers appeal, which aims to raise awareness and funds for the life-saving work the RACQ CQ Rescue Helicopter Network does every day.
Whitsunday residents generously donated their spare change to the appeal, which was held at the Whitsunday Shopping Centre on Saturday, and CQ Rescue relationships manager Leonie Hansen said the family friendly event was a success.
“It was pretty hectic in some parts and we had a bit of a queue for games,” she said.
“We actually got to catch up with an ex-patient’s wife. One of the choppers had air lifted her husband to hospital and it was nice to hear her story and to meet her, we don’t often get to do that, so that was lovely,” she said.
RACQ spokesperson Lucinda Ross said the appeal comprised of 10 pop-up events across Queensland, and that this was the first time RACQ had taken the Change for Choppers appeal to the public.
“RACQ is the major sponsor for the RACQ Rescue Helicopter Network but with every life-saving mission costing tens of thousands of dollars, the service still needs the help of the public,” she said.
Ms Hansen said during the 2018 calendar year, RACQ CQ Rescue had 635 tasks, or jobs which was is the highest amount for any one year.
“Of that approximately 500 patients actually made it on board,” she said.
“It costs us $7500 per hour to fly, so that’s fully crewed with a pilot, air crewman, rescue officer, a doctor and a paramedic.”
Ms Hansen said there was a lot to consider, when gauging flight times and how much fuel a rescue chopper would need.
“They can fly for about an hour and half before they have to refuel, but you have to factor in weight and weather on a flight- two patients instead of one for example impact fuel supplies.”
Ms Ross said the ongoing support from the public was vital.
“As road safety advocates, the amazing work that RACQ CQ Rescue crew do every day attending to Queenslanders involved in road crashes and other incidents, is very close to our hearts. That’s why we’re so proud to support this life-saving service.”
“So far through activations and online we’ve raised more than $1000. The money will be divided between RACQ LifeFlight, RACQ CQ Rescue and RACQ Capricorn Rescue,” she said.
Source: Whitsunday Times.