Sundre hospital helipad too small for larger STARS chopper

A Sundre town councillor is concerned because Sundre Hospital and Care Centre helipads are too small for the newer, faster and larger STARS Air Ambulance choppers to land.

A Sundre town councillor is concerned because Sundre Hospital and Care Centre helipads are too small for the newer, faster and larger STARS Air Ambulance choppers to land.

Coun. Chris Vardas said he is worried about the time it will take to transfer patients between emergency vehicles and the aircraft in a critical situation.

“I understand the helicopter is faster and bigger but it would be nice for (the aircraft) to land at the hospital,” said Vardas.

The new Calgary-based AW139 aircraft was recently on a training mission stopping at hospitals, airports and other strips in Sundre, Olds, Innisfail and Rocky Mountain House.

Kirk Dobrowolski, STARS community education leader/flight paramedic, said there are helipads in the province that are unable to accommodate the new aircraft but there is no reason to worry.

STARS still uses the existing BK117 aircraft for the majority of its flights and will continue to land at the hospital in Sundre.

Dobrowolski said the new model will be sent out on mission-specific trips throughout the province.

Alberta Health Services is expected to upgrade 13 landing pads in Alberta on a priority basis over the next three years. Sundre is not on the list but will be assessed on a regular basis and will be upgraded based on need and as funding sources are confirmed, according to AHS.

“So a place like Sundre may be better suited just to that helicopter that may be able to land right there to access the patient,” said Dobrowolski. “But that also means if that helicopter is down or the needs of the patient suit the new helicopter, we have alternate landing zones such as airports and airstrips.”

Dobrowolski said they would use ground ambulance to transport crews to the patient’s side and then back to the aircraft. Dobrowolski said some patients are time dependent but others are not, like when they are moving from one hospital to another.

STARS has added two AW139 helicopter to its fleet. The new aircraft boasts faster speeds, better fuel economy and larger medical interior than the BK117 aircraft used in STARS missions.

The second chopper is expected to be in service in early February for daytime missions. Within a few months, it will be in service full time. The first AW139 aircraft stopped in Red Deer as part of its training tour last summer and officially joined the fleet in December.

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s helipad can handle the new helicopters.

STARS plans to eventually replace the 27-year-old BK117 aircraft, which is no longer in production.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Red Deer church donates to Safe Harbour

It was all about helping those in need at Safe Harbour in… Continue reading

Former firefighter with PTSD sues Syncrude over suspended benefits, dismissal

CALGARY — A lawsuit filed by a former firefighter and paramedic against… Continue reading

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

HALIFAX — Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi may have hoped to quietly disappear from… Continue reading

Democrats aren’t buying Trump’s shutdown-ending ‘compromise’

WASHINGTON — In a bid to break the shutdown stalemate, President Donald… Continue reading

Updated: Red Deer welcomes 2019 Canada Winter Games Team Alberta

About 250 Alberta athletes are participating in the Games

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

Curtain rising Sunday night on total lunar eclipse

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The celestial curtain will be rising soon on… Continue reading

At 30-day mark, shutdown logjam remains over border funding

WASHINGTON — Thirty days into the partial government shutdown, Democrats and Republicans… Continue reading

Holocaust victims buried after remains found in UK museum

LONDON — The remains of six unidentified Holocaust victims were buried in… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘So what’ if Trump and Cohen discussed testimony

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani left open Sunday the… Continue reading

Photos: Rocks fly at 37th Annual Oilmen’s Bonspiel

Twenty-nine teams gathered at the Pidherney Curling Centre in Red Deer for… Continue reading

Death toll reaches 79 in Mexico fuel pipeline fire horror

TLAHUELILPAN, Mexico — People in the town where a gasoline explosion killed… Continue reading

With Trump out, Davos chief eyes fixing world architecture

DAVOS, Switzerland — The founder of the World Economic Forum says U.S.… Continue reading

Mexican pipeline explosion kills 71, leaves nightmare of ash

TLAHUELILPAN, Mexico — Gerardo Perez returned Saturday to the scorched field in… Continue reading

Most Read