When asked to describe what a hero looks like, the usual response would be someone sporting a spandex suit with a cape, not a helicopter with propellers. This year, Suncor’s Emergency Services Department (ESD) in collaboration with Phoenix Heli-Flight, have been working in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to establish a training partnership to allow the Local Helicopter Emergency Response Organization (HERO) Foundation medevac pilots and Suncor’s emergency response officers the opportunity to train and practice emergency medevac landings at our Base Plant operations.

Four different training exercises, covering all four shifts to make sure all workers could attend, took place at Base Plant’s main firehall as part of ESD's continuing professional education and emergency preparedness.

In addition to landing zone training, our emergency services team worked with HERO on in-flight approach communications and on-scene interactions for medevac patient transfer and patient care.

“It was a win, win. Our team was able to get hands-on training experience—and get a little more comfortable in creating landing zones and safely landing the chopper on our sites—and, HERO pilots were able to complete the annual off-airport training they require for certification,” says Jason Loy, Manager, Operations, Suncor Emergency Services. “It was great team effort and collaboration.” 

While regular emergency preparedness training is a normal practice for Suncor, we are continuously finding new ways to implement safety practices to our operations, so this was a new training experience for the team. 

“It may seem simple, but this kind of exercise is far from simple. Most of our team has never interacted with HERO,” explains Jamie Germain, Training Coordinator, Emergency Services at Suncor. “In-person training is a million times better than looking at a PowerPoint on the screen.”

Emergency Services thanks all the business areas that helped establish the training plan, coordinated all the necessary work plans, and helped complete the required risk assessments to execute this program.