The highs and heights of windsock maintenance

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Climbing 165 feet high be pretty scary, but at Lafayette General Medical Center, it’s necessary for hospital maintenance.

The orange windsock may seem small, but according to LGMC facility services director Marc Delahoussaye, it serves a big purpose for the hospital.

“The sock sometimes can be changed out three months, sometimes it’ll go six months. It all depends on the weather,” Delahoussaye says.

I wanted to see just how the maintenance team actually changes the windsock.

I equipped myself with a go pro and safety harness, and began my climb, more than 20 feet up above the roof.

The crew and I then removed the pin to lower the windsock.

“Once it once brought down, they cut all the straps off the ring, take the sock off and then they install the new sock on and strapping it down,” Delahoussaye explains.

Once the new windsock was hoisted back up, the crew climbed back down.

“There’s a couple of guys that really enjoy doing it because it is scary because you’re quite high,” Delahoussaye says.

It’s crucial for maintenance to change the wind sock so that helicopter pilots can land on top of the hospital.

John Vance has been a pilot with metro aviation for 12 years; he says the windsock is crucial for air med pilots, telling them the direction the wind is blowing.

“Windsocks at each location gives us definite information to make an educated decision on our landing direction when we arrive at the hospital,” Vance says. “Turbulence is being created by other buildings and structures so the wind at the airport several miles away may not, in fact, be representative of what’s at that location.”

Whether it’s flying helicopters or maintaining the hospital, it’s all part of a team of people who work together to save a life.

“It’s hard to brag on ourselves because we do it every day but it is part of the patient we take care of. If that windsock is not up there the helicopter can’t land,” Delahoussaye says.

Vance adds: “You’ll see a lot of bad things happen to good people. And when you’re able to be there and be a small part of the team that helps them get to the care that they need it can be a rewarding day.”

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