You know you live in a huge and bare country when the ambulance has to operate from the sky.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service is a non profit organisation relying on community support and donations.
Since their first flight in 1928 the Royal Flying Doctor Service has become an essential and iconic part of Australia’s isolated and rural areas. The early flying doctors were the first of their kind and today the RFDS covers more than 7million km2, an area larger than Western Europe.
Today,they own a fleet of 53 fully instrumented aircraft with the very latest in navigation technology. RFDS operate 21 bases across Australia. RFDS pilots annually fly the equivalent of 25 round trips to the moon and RFDS doctors and flight nurses are responsible for the care of nearly 270,000 patients! RFDS have come a long way from that first flight in 1928 which saw the Flying Doctor airborne at last.
Throughout January, the floods caused numerous operational challenges to RFDS.
RFDS was called on to help evacuate hospitals and nursing homes ahead of the floods in St George, Emerald and Goondiwindi. This was made difficult by the fact that Rockhampton airport flooded, forcing the closure of their base and maintenance facility for almost a month. The Brisbane Airport Base and Brisbane head office were also closed to non-essential staff for a short time. They were able to relocate their aircraft and crews to other bases, minimising service disruptions.
Some RFDS employees, like other locals, were isolated by the flood waters. One Bundaberg pilot required emergency services to ferry him across a flooded river so he could access the base and fly the aircraft.
Coordination involved some round-the-clock sessions in managing the availability of additional staff and the positioning of aircraft and staff to be able to respond to tasks.
As you know The Royal Flying Doctor Service is a non profit organisation relying on community support and donations.