STARS’ new

STARS stop in Stettler for precautionary reasons

Always ready to come to the rescue of a life-threatening incident, Stettler Regional Fire Rescue had a special training session

Always ready to come to the rescue of a life-threatening incident, Stettler Regional Fire Rescue had a special training session last week with STARS air ambulance.

Stettler Airport was the scene for training with the new STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society) donor-funded Edmonton-based AW139 helicopter as part of outreach training in advance of the aircraft becoming operational in the very near future.

“We’ve done this so many times,” said Fire Chief Mark Dennis.

“The landing space was bigger, because the chopper is bigger.”

STARS comes to Stettler about four to five times a year, some years not at all, Dennis said, and the fire department is responsible to set up a landing zone.

“If the extrication is longer and the injuries are serious or life-threatening, we usually have to land at the site of the incident,” he said.

Power lines and other hazards, wind direction and speed are considered when a landing zone is set and helicopters always land facing wind.

“Now that the AW139 is fully certified by Transport Canada to fly missions, we are intensifying our training schedule to include outreaches to key communities served by the Edmonton base,” said Cameron Heke, media officer for STARS.

“Training is meant to ensure our staff and partners on the ground are well-prepared to work safely in and around the new helicopter.”

Typically, STARS flies with a flight nurse, a flight paramedic and two pilots.

“We anticipate the AW139 and our crew will be ready to fly missions regularly in September, depending on how quickly we move through training, coupled with aircraft availability and aircraft maintenance,” Heke said.

STARS new medically equipped AW139 helicopters will benefit patients through:

• Faster response times and greater service range;

• A large medical interior with space to better access patients;

• A powerful twin engine for greater lift capacity and safety during takeoff and landings; and

• A de-icing system that will enable STARS to respond during adverse weather conditions.

• STARS purchased two new AW139 helicopters, thanks to donors who contributed $26.5 million toward their purchase.

STARS is a non-profit helicopter air ambulance organization that provides rapid and specialized emergency care and transportation for critically ill and injured patients.

STARS responded 1,539 times in 2012 from our three bases in Alberta. STARS doctors, nurses, paramedics, and pilots work with a team of dedicated support staff and community partners to save lives, the organization said.

STARS operates from bases in Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton and Grande Prairie.

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