Hiram – The Hiram Fire Department recently installed a helicopter-landing pad at the Hiram Township property on State Route 82, but the idea started over a year ago when the Hiram team responded to a severe crash on Asbury Road. At that time, there was no landing opportunity, save for landing in a farm field, in order to transport the crash victim for medical attention.

Fire Chief Bill Byers explained that landing a helicopter in a farm field can create unsafe conditions for the patient, for responders, flight crew, and the helicopter itself due to unknown conditions. The potential of flying debris during landing and take off, as well as the potential for the aircraft to sink into or sustain damage due to landing conditions can take a chopper out of commission for inspection and repairs. Landing at a ball field, as has been done up to now, creates the potential of the aircraft to clip a power line. Providing a dedicated helipad takes away some of the unknowns.

“Having a dedicated helicopter pad increases the safety of everyone involved when flying out a critically ill or injured person,” Chief Byers explained. “It helps remove the unknowns and potential hazards of landing in fields or other non secured areas, and has the added benefit of providing faster response time for our patients.”

Chief Byers noted that the installation would not have been possible without the cooperation of Hiram Township, which provided the location, and Hiram Village, which provided some of the fill materials. Both municipalities road departments provided assistance during different phases of construction. In addition, Hiram-area businesses Rod Whiting Trucking and T&D Trucking graciously hauled in the large quantity of materials needed for the pad at no cost.  Ronyak Asphalt in Shalersville donated much of the needed paving material for the project, as well. “Without the cooperation and generosity of everyone involved, this project would likely not have been possible,” Chief Byers acknowledged.

Hiram-Fire-AwardThe helicopter pad recently received its landing inspection by Cleveland Clinic Critical Care Transport. While the landing took place during excellent weather that held no surprises for the flight crew, the Cleveland Clinic team transported a surprise of their own for the Hiram Fire Department. During the inaugural landing, the Cleveland Clinic Critical Transport team chose to bestow their Commitment to Service award to the team at Hiram.

“The installation of a dedicated helipad was part of the reason Hiram was selected to win the Commitment to Service award,” explained Fire Chief Bill Byers. “In addition, they cited our willingness to train with them, and to host events for local community first-responders to train, as well.” Last year, Hiram hosted a daylong trauma-training event where Cleveland Clinic Critical Care Transport helicopters landed at key locations in Hiram. Flight crew, paramedics and flight nurses trained with local first responders, experiencing a variety of emergency medical scenarios, including tending to adult and child burn patients at a house fire, roadside care at an auto accident, and assisting a drowning victim.

“It’s quite an honor,” explained Chief Byers. “The Clinic selects only one squad per year out of the over 40 squads they work with.” Dr. Damon Kralovic, Medical Director of Critical Care Transport, and Mallory Caddell, Flight RN, arrived at the new helipad recently to present the Hiram Fire Department with their 2016 Commitment to Service Award.

“We’ve been working with the Clinic for several years, and sincerely appreciate their willingness to offer cutting-edge training at their cost to the men and women of the Hiram Fire Department. We’re humbled that they chose us for this prestigious award,” concluded Chief Byers.