(Tell City, IN) Sept. 15, 2015—Residents of Perry County will have a new helipad for use by emergency services when Waupaca Foundry, a Hitachi Metals Group company, unveils the site September 15, 2015. The helipad is located at the south side of the foundry’s property and is part of a larger parking lot addition.
The pad is 1600 square feet and is equipped to land an Air Evac helicopter day or night with 24/7 lighting and a lit wind sock. Currently there is only one other helipad, which is located at Perry County Memorial Hospital. The new, #24 helipad will provide access for the west side of the county. Waupaca Foundry owns the helipad and assumed all construction costs, but it will be used by Perry County emergency services to rapidly transport critically ill and injured residents to nearby hospitals.
According to Plant Manager Bruce Tesch, 60 foundry employees are members of the gray and ductile iron foundry’s emergency response team as well as emergency response teams in nearby communities. “For years emergency flights throughout the region have used our property when there was public need due to an accident or illness, so we felt constructing a certified helipad was in the best interest of the community,” Tesch said. The helipad location was inspected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and representatives will return for a final inspection later this year.
To support air ambulance service to Perry County residents, it took Waupaca Foundry’s own emergency responders almost 15 minutes to prepare the former site for landing. “With the permanent lights and dedicated concrete base, the new helipad cuts our preparation time in half for a landing,” said emergency response team leader Joseph (J.J.) Sanders.
The helipad will provide a safe landing site for air ambulances that administer life-saving care. ”Often, a patient can be transported in less than half the time it would take if driven by ground ambulance,” said Stephanie Rutter, senior program director for Air Evac Lifeteam. “Our ability to get state-of-the-art medical equipment to an injured person in that first hour after injury is crucial and having a helipad on this side of the community will be a huge advantage.” Air Evac Lifeteam operates in 15 sites in Kentucky and three in Indiana.
The helipad was part of a larger project to expand the Waupaca Foundry parking lot which required more than 115,000 tons of reclaimed foundry sand. The foundry’s casting process uses large volumes of sand and more than 800,000 tons of sand is re-used each year. The majority of the sand that can no longer be used in the casting process does not end up in a landfill—more than 70% is recycled annually. This reclaimed sand finds new life in applications in construction, agricultural use, and geotechnical fill.
“We were able to use our own reclaimed foundry sand as geotechnical fill to provide a level and stable site for the helipad and expanded parking lot,” said Brian Greulich, Waupaca Foundry’s environmental engineer. “We are not only enriching our community, but we are also keeping material out of a landfill and sustaining our natural resources,” he said. Beneficial Reuse Management assisted Waupaca Foundry in designing and building the helipad and parking lot expansion.