After years of planning and anticipation, Sunnybrook’s rooftop helipad is now complete and operational. With features including an impressive 75-square-foot platform and a covered walkway that protects patients and paramedics from the elements as they move to dedicated elevators, the helipad is a feat of engineering that provides important time-saving benefits.
Patients arrive at Sunnybrook by air ambulance from all over the province for urgent trauma care, burn care and high-risk maternal and newborn care. Whereas the ground-level helipad requires coordination with a land ambulance to take patients into the hospital through the Emergency Department, the rooftop helipad enables transportation directly from the platform to treatment areas within the hospital.
The helipad was made possible in large part thanks to the contributions of generous donors, including Gelato Cup Golf and The Rudolph P. Bratty Family Foundation.
Here’s a look at the helipad’s construction and testing journey:
The steel frame rises: Construction of the structural steel frame was a key part of the building process, providing support for the helipad high above the hospital’s main wing.
Out on a limb: A construction worker installs a safety net outrigger. The outriggers are an integral part of the structural steel frame supporting the helipad deck.
View from above: An Ornge (Ontario’s air ambulance service) pilot’s eye view of the completed helipad. The ’35’ indicates the helipad can support a takeoff weight of 35,000 pounds, accommodating the Canadian Armed Forces’ largest search-and-rescue helicopters.
Touchdown: The first landing of an air ambulance on the rooftop pad. This was part of a simulation to prepare teams for the day the helipad officially started accepting patients.
Precious cargo: As part of the test landing, two Ornge flight paramedics, Justin Smith (left) and Rob Teranishi, unload a stretcher from the helicopter.
Speedy delivery: Upon landing, the Ornge flight paramedics accompany the stretcher down the walkway toward an enclosed ramp area, where they take dedicated elevators straight to the trauma bay.
All photography by Ancil London, Doug Nicholson and Kevin Van Paassen