The STARS annual update took place during the Wednesday, October 19 town council meeting, and STARS Senior Municipal Relations Liaison Glenda Farnden explained a new fleet of helicopters is already making an impact.

This new Albertan fleet is almost complete, with the tenth and final helicopter expected by the end of this month. The new H145 helicopters function as an airborne Intensive Care Unit (ICU), with the equipment, tools, and expertise of STARS responders able to treat people in most emergency settings.

These helicopters are equipped with:

starsCourtesy STARS
starsCourtesy STARS

"We have two units of universal blood, this is blood that can be accepted by anyone. We were the first HEMS programs in North America to bring this lifesaving opportunity and increase the advanced care in trauma patients especially. It can mean the difference in life and death," Farnden said.

Also among the services provided is a handheld i-stat lab, which is a small phone sized device that provides vital test results in less than 2 minutes for hemoglobin, blood gasses, and electrolytes. Farnden says this is a vital tool when you're running multiple pain management types of drugs.

STARS is a vital service, and since 2018 178 missions have been called within Wheatland County an average of around 35 a year. Of those, 63 come from the Strathmore Hospital for inter-facility transfers, while 31 more were scene calls. However, if you extend the range to places people from Wheatland County might travel to, like Rocky View County, Kneehill County, Foothills County and more, that number rises to 841 missions over the last 5 years.

Even beyond our surrounding area, STARS continues to be a vital service for our residents even outside of our province! Using postal codes of rescued people, STARS was able to track Wheatland County resident rescues even outside of our county.

starsCourtesy STARS

There's no doubt that STARS has been a huge help to Albertans everywhere in providing life saving services, but the cost of these services can be pricey. Farnden explained Alberta STARS is currently receiving 20% of its funding through the government, while the rest is fueled by the community.

With nearly $40 million a year raised by the public through things like the STARS calendar, STARS 50/50 lottery, and general fundraising, STARS relies on the community to keep providing the services they offer. However, more funding could be on the way, as Farnden said Alberta STARS is in talks to receive 50% government funding, which would be the same as what Saskatchewan and Manitoba STARS already receive.

Farnden concluded her presentation by thanking the Town of Strathmore for its continued support of STARS, and hopes the town will keep STARS in its budget. Farnden will be back next week to officially present a budget request.

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