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STARS air ambulance serves Willow Creek MD

When someone is critically injured and needs to get to the hospital fast, they can rest assured STARS air ambulance is available to take them.
The MD of Willow Creek contributes $10,000 per year, or about $2 per capita to STARS.
STARS development officers Pamela Ison Reilander and Jillian Desautels appeared as a delegation Sept. 12 to discuss what STARS does.
Ison Reilander began by thanking the municipality for its contribution, then launched into her presentation.
STARS began in 1985, flying its first mission on Dec. 1 of that year. The goal is to provide critical care in the air.
There are four pillars making up what STARS does.
The first pillar is finding the patient. The STARS Emergency Link Centre in Calgary dispatches all helicopters. It also registers industrial sites recording exact land locations in case an incident occurs at any of them.
The second pillar is the care and transport of the patient to the hospital. Each helicopter has on board two pilots, a critical care nurse, and an advanced life support paramedic. There is also 24-7 access to referral emergency physicians.
STARS covers 94 per cent of the Alberta population with three bases: Calgary, Edmonton, and Grande Prairie.
A total of 1,655 missions were flown in 2011, an increase of more than 200 in 2010. In total, STARS has flown 22,027 missions since 1985. Fifty per cent of those missions are inter-hospital missions, the other 50 per cent are scene calls such as motor vehicle collisions.
STARS will soon be receiving a AW139 helicopter based in Edmonton which can fly further, faster, and has more capability.
“It’s like carting a mini hospital with you, a mini trauma centre,” Ison Reilander said.
This helicopter can reach further into northern Alberta, carry two patients, and has equipment such as an ultrasound on board.
The third pillar is education. STARS does a variety of training with rural hospitals and emergency medical service teams, as well as simulation training.
The STARS academy was established a few years ago as well, and it does outreach.
The fourth pillar is the STARS Foundation which raises funds and works with the community. It also raises community awareness.
Ison Reilander concluded by showing a breakdown of missions flown in the MD of Willow Creek. There were 19 from January to July 2012; 23 in 2011; 19 in 2010; and 23 in 2009.
“We’re lucky to have a service like this,” Coun. Ian Sundquist said.