Helicopter Evacuations and Herchmer Road

There have been 6 helicopter medical evacuations on Savary so far this year. This is an unusually high number for the island. Four of those helicopter landings were directed to the southwest Medevac site on Sunset Trail.

The road to get to that Medevac site is along Herchmer Road, between Vancouver Blvd and Sunset Trail. The road has pot-holes as big as ponds in the wet season. There is sometimes so much water that the driver cannot see what might be hidden below the surface that could damage the FR vehicle. A large rock? A large root? So driving speed is limited to a slow crawl. The road conditions are doing two things that are potentially negative to patient outcomes: slowing down the time it takes to get to hospital; and rocking the patient around which is uncomfortable and possibly puts them at more risk.

Obviously, this is counter productive to the need for calling in a helicopter in the first place. It must change.

At the ASIC AGM in July this topic came up, and there was a positive response to the idea that something had to be done, asap. So ASIC is taking preliminary steps to come up with ideas and solutions that we can present to MOTI for their feedback, and to our local government (qRD) for funding and possible project management. So far, we have a great start from Steve Lackey and Marco Rowan, both from Indian Point, because they’ve done an initial plan for the 381-metre section of road. The ideal long-term goal is to upgrade the road so that MOTI will take over maintenance, to make the road safe year-round for emergency access. We do not know if that is feasible due to the MOTI standards for road building that we were given, which exceed anything else done on Savary roads, by quite a bit.

So the choices come down to building to those standards for long-term maintenance or do something simpler in scale, a community option, that will solve the problem for the next 10-15 years, and that Savaryites will have to periodically maintain by ourselves.  It’s too early in the concept stage to decide yet.  In the meantime, if you see some survey stakes along Herchmer in the coming months, they are just an indication of the full 66 ft road allowance so that private property is not touched during the upgrade. It is not the planned road width. The traveled road will remain where it is for most of its length.

Also, to clarify, there is no upgrade planned for any portion of Sunset Trail. The only upgrade being discussed is for Herchmer Road, just the section between Vancouver Blvd and the hill before Sunset Trail.