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Willow Creek council updated on operation of STARS

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STARS Air Ambulance continues to operate through the pandemic.

MD of Willow Creek council was updated on STARS Jan. 13 by Glenda Farnden of STARS who appeared as a delegation by video conference.

In a Powerpoint presentation it was stated through the COVID-19 pandemic the No. 1 priority has been maintain operations.

Personal protective equipment has been enhanced.

About 13 per cent of call volume is suspected/confirmed COVID cases which have been as high as 18 per cent of call volume.

STARS is funded primarily through fund-raising which accounts for 80 per cent of its funding. The other 20 per cent comes from government.

A total of 54 per cent of its expenditures go to aviation; 21 per cent to clinical operations; two per cent to education; 12 per cent to administration; three per cent to base operations; and nine per cent to dispatch and coordination.

STARS provides emergency response and coordination.

That includes an immediate safety net 24 hours a day, seven days a week; 24/7 live person contact; access to all available resources; and dispatching an appropriate level of response.

STARS transport physicians provide medical oversight and guidance; physician-to-physician consultation; orchestrating complex logistics; facilitating the appropriate receiving hospital; and supporting pre-hospital practitioners.

STARS has provided 47 Claresholm General Hospital inter-facility transfers since 2016, with five in 2020.

They have had 11 flights in the Claresholm area since 2016, with two in 2020.

STARS has provided 37 Fort Macleod Hospital inter-facility transfers since 2016, with four in 2020.

They have had 10 flights in the Fort Macleod area since 2016, with two in 2020.

They have had 28 flights in the Nanton area since 2016, with three in 2020.

They have had three flights in the Pearce area since 2016, with one in 2020.

They have had three flights in the Stavely area since 2016, with two in 2018 and one in 2016.

STARS continues to upgrade its fleet of helicopters with the Airbus H145 model.

As of July of 2019 three were operational with two more arriving in December 2020. Two more are set to arrive in Spring 2021.

These helicopters are five-bladed with increased lift and load capacities and will all have an identically equipped intensive care unit environment.

The campaign to fund the H145 fleet continues.

The cost is about $117-million for helicopters only at $13-million per helicopter, plus $18-million in associated costs such as intensive pilot and mechanic training; required pool pilot insurance coverage; and specialized tools and ground control equipment.

So overall it is a $135-million campaign.

So far, the Alberta and Saskatchewan government have each contributed $13-million. The federal government has contributed $65-million for five helicopters. There have been $13-million in corporate and individual contributions before the pandemic and $1 million in municipal fleet gifts.

There is also a possibility of selling older helicopters for $15-million, leaving $15-million yet to be raised.