YARMOUTH - With each new snowfall, snow-clearing equipment tackles the runways at the Yarmouth International Airport.
Although there is no regular scheduled passenger air service at the facility, 24/7 operation is essential for several reasons.
Interim airport manager Alain Muise shared a memory connected to one of those reasons at a Jan. 29 meeting of airport commission members.
Muise’s father died suddenly on Jan. 9, 2004. He was an organ donor and LifeFlight was called in.
“They came in and because he had passed away, and because he had made that decision, and because that runway was plowed, three or four or five lives were saved because of my father,” said Muise.
EHS communications manager Jean Spicer says EHS LifeFlight completes approximately 60 missions to Yarmouth annually.
“The airport is important due to the complex weather experienced in the southwestern portion of Nova Scotia,” she said.
“Having access to the airport helps ensure we are able to respond, refuel and return in a timely manner, no matter if we are utilizing the fixed-wing airplane or helicopter.”
EHS LifeFlight transports critically ill and injured patients, so every transport contributes to the reduction of out-of-hospital time for these patients and potentially saves lives.
Spicer says the transport of patients who are potential organ donors has far-reaching importance to the population as a whole.
“The impact on the lives of the recipients and their families cannot be put into words – it is very gratifying for our program to be part of those transports,” she said.
Other essential reasons for keeping Yarmouth runways in good shape include coast guard and 14 Wing Greenwood SAR missions.
“They may not be always saving lives but they’re certainly protecting lives,” said Muise.