Officials at Texas Health Plano are celebrating the opening of a new helipad — one that would save lives during dangerous ice storms.
Originally reported by CBS News Texas on April 27, the organization held a celebration event on Thursday. The event included a parade of first responders' vehicles and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The new helipad is heated and elevated, which officials say will be especially helpful in the cold winter months. After all, Texas ice storms pose a dangerous hazard, especially to life-saving helicopters.
According to CBS, it is the only heated helipad for hospitals in North Texas. The platform is elevated with glycol heaters, so it will not freeze over when temperatures drop during colder months and storms.
"It offers the opportunity for our EMS providers to continue to transport patients even in very difficult conditions," said Chief Nursing Officer Laura Massey. "We receive really critical patients and it's important for us to be able to allow them access to our facility here for our care."
This is the second helipad for Texas Health Plano. The new helipad will be in closer proximity than its initial helipad to the hospital’s emergency room and intensive care unit. The hospital expects the new helipad to reduce the time between transporting patients in and out of care.
Texas Health Plano is a Level 2 trauma center, a comprehensive stroke and a primary heart attack center. Officials say, because of these designations, the facility sees a fair amount of critical patients.
Texas Health is one of the nation's largest faith-based, nonprofit health care systems, serving more than seven million residents of greater North Texas.
"The quality healthcare that we have here in Plano is so essential," Plano Mayor John Muns said.
Officials said that will the new helipad, the facility will be able to serve patients as far as southern Oklahoma.