ROSEBORO — A project that has been in the making for the last four years, will finally see the light at the end of the tunnel when a helicopter lands at the Roseboro Helipad next Saturday, June 25.
The official opening of the helipad has been scheduled and commissioners, the mayor and fire department personnel are asking the public to come out and take part in this momentous occasion.
According to Lee Coleman, chief for the Roseboro Fire Department, a UNC Health Care helicopter will fly in around noon Saturday and land for the first time on the newly opened helipad. This helicopter, Coleman said, is new for the health care system and slightly different from older models. This helicopter loads from the side, rather than the rear of the aircraft.
Having the helipad located in Roseboro, Coleman added, will be a huge asset to the emergency personnel working in and around Sampson County. With the projected traffic on the new four-lane N.C. 24 expected to increase, Coleman said the helipad is a greater necessity now.
“This gives us one more option that will cut down on the time it takes to get someone to the proper facility to help with their emergency needs,” Coleman said. “The helipad certainly helps the citizens of Roseboro, and Sampson County, by being a space to land a helicopter.”
The main purpose of the helipad is to better serve the residents of both Roseboro and Sampson County by saving time in emergency situations.
In the event of an accident or medical emergency that requires a helicopter to land nearby, as it currently stands, the Roseboro Fire Department must set up a landing zone in preparation for that landing. However, with the completion of the helipad, Coleman added, the site would be ready for the helicopter’s landing, saving both time and effectiveness.
“It’s quicker if we have a central location to meet,” Coleman said. “This can be the difference in life or death.”
All the rescue and fire departments across the county have been invited to take part in the celebration, where children will have a chance to tour the inside of the helicopter and fire trucks. A monument dedication is also on the schedule of events for the day.
The scheduled landing will be the first for the UNC helicopter and the Roseboro Helipad. Coleman said there have been a few calls for the aircraft to land, but the calls were cancelled.
The helipad project came at an expense of more than $30,000, which was covered through fundraisers and donations.
In addition to being recognized as the Roseboro Municipal Helipad by both state and county officials, the Federal Aviation Administration has recognized the helipad and designated it 7NC6.
“This gives us one more option that will cut down on the time it takes to get someone to the proper facility to help with their emergency needs,” Coleman said during an earlier interview with the Sampson Independent.“The helipad certainly helps the citizens of Roseboro, and Sampson County, by being a space to land a helicopter.”
In the event of an accident or medical emergency that requires a helicopter to land, the fire department will be responsible for providing access to the facility. Only members of the fire department and Emergency Management Services, as well as town employees, will have access to the code to open the property.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.