Pupils get to inspect helicopter

Ready for takeoff . . . St Mary’s School pupils (back from left) Bella Davis (10), Mason Wotten (8), Alice Nelson (9), Heath Vassal (6), Jack Butterfield (6), (front from left) Ella Heads (12) and Charlie Sloper (7) check out an Otago Rescue Helicop ter. PHOTO: MICHAEL CURREEN

St Mary’s pupils had a learning experience with the Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter last Friday before the service starts landing at the school.

Pupils asked paramedics questions and had a close look at a helicopter, which had landed on the school court. The court is soon to become a helipad for the rescue service.

Principal Annie Nelson said it would help prepare the children for when that happens.

“It’s going to be an emergency when it’s in use, so today is for them to see it and understand it.”

There were procedures in place to ensure the children’s safety once the helipad is in use, she said.

“The school is in a really privileged position to be able to support the community.”

It was a “fantastic” opportunity for the children, Mrs Nelson said.

By doing their part, the children will be helping the paramedics save lives, she said.

The experience helped the children understand their role in emergencies, Mrs Nelson said.

“Being a responsible citizen in the school grounds is actually being a responsible citizen for the community.”

Helicopter Paramedic Shayne Henry said the school court’s close proximity to the hospital made it ideal for emergencies.

The service presently lands at the showgrounds where an ambulance then takes patients to the hospital.

“Landing at the school will save a lot of time. It could save lives,” Mr Henry said.

The school landing pad will be in use before the end of the year, he said.