January 26, 2017 11:50 am

Nova Scotia’s new EHS LifeFlight helicopters to be in operation by August

A LifeFlight helicopter lands at Point Pleasant Park in Halifax's South End on May 2, 2016. The helicopters were banned from landing on two hospital roof-top helipads on April 1, 2016.

Grey Butler / Global News

Nova Scotia’s two new LifeFlight air ambulances will be landing on hospital rooftops by Aug. 1, the government announced Thursday.

The Department of Health officially signed the $105 million deal with Canadian Helicopters, securing the two Sikorsky 76C+ choppers, which will replace the current air ambulance.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia to lease two new LifeFlight helicopters

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The province’s current LifeFlight helicopter was restricted from landing on the rooftops of Nova Scotia hospitals in April, after it was determined they didn’t have certification to land on helipads in densely populated areas.

Since then, rather than landing atop the Halifax Infirmary and IWK Health Centre in Halifax and on the Digby General Hospital in Digby, the air ambulances have been landing on the ground and patients have then been taken to hospital by an ambulance.

The newer, 10-year-old helicopters will be able land on the rooftop helipads again, which the government insists could save up to 15 minutes in the patient’s journey.

Adding a second helicopter, Health Minister Leo Glavine says, means there will be a dedicated back-up should there be any issues with the primary air ambulance.

READ MORE: LifeFlight helicopters pulled from servicing hospital rooftops by choice: Canadian Helicopters

Currently, LifeFlight is available 70 per cent of the time and there is no back-up.

The helicopters should be in Canada within a week.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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