Skip to content

STARS Municipal Relations addresses Stettler council

Stettler town council welcomes representatives from STARS to its Tuesday, May 7 meeting.
Stettler town office

Stettler town council welcomed representatives of STARS to its Tuesday, May 7 meeting. 

Glenda Farnden, Senior Municipal Relations Liaison in Alberta and British Columbia, updated council on the continuing efforts of the organization. She also informed council that she would be transitioning to a different position in the organization and introduced Shannon Paquette who would be taking her place.

Farnden informed council that there are three STARS bases in Alberta and that each base costs approximately 10 million dollars for operational support.  This doesn’t include the Emergency Link Centre, which is the organization’s dispatch center, or education, training, or administrative costs. 

Through its funding agreement with Alberta Health Services (AHS), the organization receives $15 million per year, which covers half the costs of the three bases.  She explains they are in conversations for overall funding and a long-term funding agreement.

Farnden spoke of the STARS lottery which has been running for over 30 years.  The recent lottery netted ten million dollars, or the operations cost of one base.  This leaves the organization short $18 million for the year. 

However, these funds are often brought in through corporations that make annual donations, and community fundraising efforts. Farnden noted that after COVID, many community fundraising events have been lost, but they are working to find new events. 

They also receive funds from service clubs such as Lions, and similar groups. Additionally, there are STARS municipal supporters who have currently brought in $2.2 million across the province.

Farnden says that in the last year, they have reached agreements with 9 new municipal groups, and 9 more urban municipalities.  This means they have funding agreements from roughly 95 percent of the municipalities across the province.

Throughout the Town and County of Stettler, STARS has flown an annual average of 16 missions per year since 2019. 

Farnden explains that since 2010, 131 residents from the Stettler area have been flown by STARS, 85 of which were picked up within county limits.  This is compiled based on the postal code of residents who have been flown.

The Town of Stettler has a standing contribution of $12,000 per year that they contribute to STARS.

Paquette touched on the Emergency Link Centre (ELC) which is integrated with all dispatch centres and related resources. 

This allows them to put all necessary resources on one call, streamlining the process.  It can then coordinate emergency transport by either ground, fixed wing or rotary wing. It can also make logistical arrangements with receiving doctors and hospitals.

STARS is the first civilian organization to be able to use night vision goggles. Paquette notes that half the missions of the organization take place at night. 

It is also the first helicopter EMS program in North America to carry universal blood onboard.  It has recently increased the number of units on board to four, due to the number of severe trauma patients they deal with.

Paquette noted that STARS crews receive 200 hours of training per year, per person.  This has put their personnel in the top three at a worldwide Emergency Medical Services competition that sees rescue personnel from all around the world.