Stars Presence Felt in Sask

STARS Air Ambulance became a bigger presence in Saskatchewan in 2013.

With a base being established in Saskatoon last February the ambulance service made nearly four times the flights they made in 2012.

In total, across the province STARS had 535 emergency flights, compared to only 159 in 2012. Out of the over 500 flights, the Saskatoon base had 281 flights this year, while Regina’s base made 254.

A major factor in the upswing in flights had to do with the establishment of the Saskatoon base as well as the Regina base being fully functional.

Cam Heke, spokesperson for Stars says the service has the potential to continue to increase in the West Central region in the coming years.

“There is an aging population, so that certainly comes into play in terms to responding to more medical emergencies,” Heke said. “Population growth as well; if you have more people driving on the highway there is more opportunity for a collision to occur.”

The decision to deploy STARS to an emergency is made either by a paramedic on the ground or a local doctor, but is coordinated from a Calgary base. For a STARS Helicopter to be sent those injured will be in a life or limb threatening predicament and time will be of the essence.

STARS Helicopters can fly up to 250 km/ hour, which means they can get almost anywhere in the province within an hour. On a case-by-case basis, STARS will often have a specialized doctor or specialized nurses and paramedics on the flight.

In the coming years Heke expects more helipads (landing pads for helicopters) to be established at hospitals across the province. Currently there is only a helipad at the Regina hospital, while in Alberta, where STARS has been operating for 28 years, there are 80 helipads across the wild-rose province

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