In an effort to take better care of its citizens and those passing through the town, Roseboro is working toward getting a helicopter pad so hospital helicopters can land safely and transport patients more effectively.
During last week’s town meeting, Bobby Owen, Roseboro Fire Chief, shared information about the project’s progress with the board.
“Right now, we’re trying to get some letters out to local businesses and such to make donations and help with the cost,” said Owen.
When later contacted for follow up comments, Owen explained that “the pad will be located behind the dialysis center” in Roseboro.
“I’ve been working on it for about a year now,” added Owen of the project. “I’m hoping that we can get it started by the latter part of April but it might be a little before that or a little later. It’s got to get a little warmer before anything can really happen because you can’t pour asphalt in the cold.”
As the project begins to take shape, Owen notes that many criteria will have to be met in order to certify the helipad. “Certified means that something like Duke Life Flight will come out and look at it,” said Owen. “They’ll have to locate it on their GPS, get the latitude and longitude.”
“We will have to put up lights around it, green ones so that they can see it at night, and there will have to be a windsock,” continued Owen. “Also, there’s a certain grade the pad has to be so that water runs off. Everything will be done according to the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration]. They have certain criteria that you have to meet.”
Owen is looking forward to having the helipad in Roseboro, believing it to be much needed resource. “There’s been several occassions in the past where it would have been nice to have,” said Owen. “We’ve managed to deal with not having one. We’ve been able to find fields for them to land in, but they [the pilots] don’t really like to do that because of all the grass that flies around. It can get into the helicopter’s engine and cause problems. They like a clean and clear place to land, and I certainly understand where they’re coming from. They don’t want that grass or debris to give them trouble at that time or on down the road.”
Owen recalls an accident that required the person be airlifted and the only place to land nearby was not at all ideal. “Once they had to land on top of the landfill. There was an 18-wheeler that turned over on the main road and a man was trapped inside. There was trash flying all around because when they land there’s a lot of wind. After that incident, they specifically talked to me and said that if we could find a better place for them to land they would really appreciate it.”
“I think it’ll be really helpful as the new highway [Hwy 24] is made,” continued Owen. “There will probably be a lot more traffic, a lot more 18-wheelers out there, and it’ll be good to have the helipad when wrecks and things happen.”
During Owen’s report during the town meeting, commissioner Roland Hall mentioned that he thought the project was a good idea but wasn’t sure how easily or how soon it could be accomplished. “When you [Owen] said you were going to do this, I thought, ‘Well, you go ahead and try,’ but you’re really doing it,” said Hall impressed. “That’s great.”
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.