by Lucie Roy
On Tuesday, Feb. 12, seniors went on a tour of the STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society) facility located at the Edmonton International Airport.
The trip had a special meaning as most of those who attended knew of someone who had been flown by STARS or that have been supporters of STARS for many years.
The event included a presentation from STARS Development Officer, Events Foundation Sheyanne Levall-Crouse and a tour of the Simulator Room and Hangar with Flight Nurse Lucille de Beaudrap.
Levall-Crouse said in Alberta a typical 90-minute mission costs about $5400 and because of the fundraising efforts the patient never gets a bill.
In Alberta they have funding from Alberta Health Services for about 20 per cent and the other 80 per cent comes from fundraising efforts.
Levall-Crouse said they are truly grateful for everything everyone does for them, without support many of their patients would not be here today.
Levall-Crouse covered the history from its beginning in 1985 to the over 42,000 missions they have had.
They now have three flight centres in Alberta. Calgary was established in 1985, Edmonton in 1991 and the newest one in Grande Prairie. The one in Grande Prairie also flies into parts of B.C.
They also have two bases in Saskatchewan, one is in Saskatoon and one in Regina and one in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Levall-Crouse said they have existed to provide a safe, rapid highly specialized emergency transport system for the critically injured.
In June of 2018 STARS announced the fleet renewal campaign to purchase nine new H145 helicopters for their bases in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
The goal of reaching this fleet is approx $130 million. The helicopters themselves cost $13 million each plus funding for training.
The fleet consists of eight BK 117, three AW139 and three of the newest H145. Once they have all the H145 they will retire the older BK117s.
Their base in Edmonton is scheduled to have their new H145 at the end of 2021.
During the tour of the helicopters, Levall-Crouse pointed out the significance of the donors logos listed on the helicopter and the story behind the KLY for Kelly.
The year 2022 is the targeted completion of the new H145 deliveries.
The aircraft can accommodate two patients if needed and STARS is the first user of the H145 for helicopter EMS in Canada.
Over 240 hours of specialized H145 training is required for each aircraft maintenance engineer and 30 days of classroom, simulator and flight training for each STARS pilot.
The first mission in the H145 took place on July 19, 2019.