Always an eye on the sky: Mayo One - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Always an eye on the sky: Mayo One

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- If you've looked at Rochester's downtown skyline lately, you may have noticed some new features: cranes atop the Mayo Clinic. While construction itself is nothing new, the extra challenges these cranes are posing for the neighboring helipad, certainly are.

Construction started about a month ago. Mayo Clinic told us they are working on two projects, one of them being a new post-anesthesia care unit. For flight crews, this means added awareness and communication. The large cranes will be atop Mayo Buildings, until fall 2013.

We currently have a helicopter with an incoming arrival of approximately 14 minutes.

A routine page alerting medical staff that a helicopter is about to take off or land now comes with a higher safety risk. It's all because construction crews are using cranes on neighboring Mayo buildings. Flight crew pilot, Neil Weink, said a lot of preparations took place before crews got to work.

"We've attended meetings for the safety side of things. Everywhere from where they're going to be, to how tall they're going to be, to how well they are lit at night so we can see them when we come in and out," explained Wienk.

With a pilot and two flight medics aboard the helicopter, all eyes are watching to make sure the coast is always clear.

With more than 2000 helicopter operations taking place on this helipad each year communication is pivotal, all the more now with this construction. Crane Operators, the flight team and dispatch all have two-way radios making sure everyone is always up-to-date.

"Crane operator likes a ten minute warning so they can stop whatever they're doing. So, they also have a radio in their bucket so they know exactly how far the helicopter is out, so when it's 2 minutes they usually stop moving the crane so that the helicopters can make their approach," stated Kelly Sahs, Mayo One's Flight Nurse Manager.

Once a helicopter has safely landed medics are on the go, within seconds the patient is wheeled off the helipad, and into the ER.

Aboard the helicopters are 50 different medications to take care of complex patients. They can install breathing tubes and perform numerous medical procedures. If you haven't been exposed to anything of this nature before, it really is a sight to see.

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