Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Minister for Emergency Services; Innovation and ICT; Medical Research; Volunteering

    Emergency Rescue Helicopter Service soars to new heights

    28/07/2022 6:00 PM

    • State's Emergency Rescue Helicopter Service completes 9,000th mission
    • Critical service has helped save thousands of lives since taking flight in 2003


    The State's Emergency Rescue Helicopter Service (ERHS), RAC Rescue, has reached a major milestone after it completed its 9,000th mission.


    Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson said RAC Rescue was called to an incident in Lancelin after a 17-year-old boy rolled a quad bike in the sand dunes. He said the crew provided urgent medical assistance at the scene and then transported the teenager to Royal Perth Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.


    Since the first mission in August 2003, RAC Rescue has spent more than 20,000 hours flying across 1.8 million kilometres, equivalent to 47 times around the world, rescued 6,139 patients and responded to 4,579 road crash rescues and 948 search and rescues.


    In 2016 a second helicopter was introduced in Bunbury to complement the base in Jandakot and a third aircraft was added in 2018, acting as a back-up for the primary helicopters while also responding to major emergencies, such as Severe Tropical Cyclone Seroja.


    Earlier this year the McGowan Government announced a $26.7 million investment to significantly upgrade the ERHS with the delivery of three next-generation aircraft with increased range and enhanced technology.


    The rescue helicopters are sponsored by RAC, funded by the State Government and managed by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.


    Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson:


    "Nine thousand missions underlines the significance of the McGowan Government's support and plans to upgrade the Emergency Rescue Helicopter Service, which has helped save the lives of thousands of Western Australians since it began nearly 20 years ago.


    "RAC Rescue often operates in extremely difficult circumstances and treacherous conditions and I commend the flight crews for their bravery and commitment to exceptional care.


    "The world-class service is a credit to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services who have built a strong and reliable operation that can respond to the most complex emergencies in times of great need.


    "The McGowan Government continues to invest significantly in this life saving service, committing nearly $27 million for three replacement helicopters and a new $12.5 million Aviation Airbase to support DFES' rescue and aerial firefighting operations."


    Comments attributed to Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM:


    "Western Australia is the largest emergency services jurisdiction in the southern hemisphere and the crew and staff of RAC Rescue have done an outstanding job saving lives across our vast landscape.


    "The highly trained crews can provide 24/7 rescue response and urgent medical care in the air, lifting stranded or injured people from mountains or rough seas and responding to search and rescue missions."


    Minister's Office - 6552 5800