While the fixed wing industry across the world is in freefall, Helicopter Search and Rescue services are still needed – pandemic or not. This is why, together with the rest of the crew of the Irish Coast Guard, we keep working on an ‘operations and essential training only’ basis to limit potential exposure to the COVID-19.
We don’t fall under the restrictions of the commercial aviation industry at this time. Yet, we have to take extraordinary precautions against COVID-19.
On shift handover each day crews give verbal handovers whilst maintaining a safe distance on the exterior of the operating bases. The off-coming crews sterilise each base as they leave, i.e. wipe down all surfaces, laptop keypads, door handles, desk surfaces, banisters etc. etc. etc. This way we ensure that we leave a sterile base for the on-coming crews.
Crews try not congregate whilst on duty and for meal times we stagger cooking arrangements so as not to congest the kitchen. We operate 4 bases here in Ireland and all inter base movement of staff has been halted and all non-essential staff operate from home now.
To date we’ve had no crew members test positive for the virus but a few members have gone for testing as a precaution. Crews are very conscious that if any crew member gets infected this could potentially shut down a base, thus compromising the much-needed Search & Rescue service we provide. With that in mind crews have been handing back leave to our company in an effort to maintain flexibility in support of crew rosters.
We’ve offered our services to the Irish Government to provide whatever help they may need in support of the fight against COVID 19 and stand ready to help in any way we can.
We’ve offered our services to the Irish Government to provide whatever help they may need in support of the fight against COVID-19 and stand ready to help in any way we can.