Offshore emergencies call for aid that is both fast and qualified. The wind farms in the German Bight are up to 130 kilometres from shore, where several hundred people work under environmental and weather conditions that can be quite harsh. In emergencies, every minute counts more than usual.
In 2011 Northern Helicopter GmbH was the very first company to develop an integrated medical rescue concept for offshore sites. Together with experienced partners, it has successfully established itself in the market since then under the name WINDEAcare. To guarantee short rescue flights to the North Sea wind farms, a rescue helicopter was transferred to St. Peter-Ording in 2014. It is on standby around the clock and guarantees first aid in emergencies in the Exclusive Economic Zone in the German Bight. Since January 2018, a second offshore rescue helicopter has been in service 24/7 at Güttin airfield on the island of Rügen. The helicopter is used for rescue and medical care for the wind farms off the coast of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. NHC Northern Helicopter has specialised in acute and emergency medical care for and transport of injured and sick people on offshore wind farms.
The helicopters used are equipped with modern emergency medical apparatus for monitoring patients, such as respirators, mobile ultrasounds, and monitoring devices. These devices go beyond the required DIN EN 13718 standard.
The medical crew comprises an emergency paramedic, trained as a HEMS-TC and an emergency physician. Both are trained in height rescue, especially from offshore wind turbines. The offshore wind turbines are more than 100 meters high, and emergency situations arise in which injured workers must be retrieved from this height. The HEMS-TC ist trained in water rescue as well.
The flight crew of the rescue helicopter consists of two pilots and one hoist operator. All crew members are specially trained for offshore exigencies.