Frequently asked questions about STARS
STARS operates from six bases across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Here are answers to some of your questions about how we operate.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF A HELICOPTER EMS PROGRAM?
The sooner patients receive specialized care the better the chance they have of surviving and recovering with fewer medical complications. STARS is another resource for patients and we work with our partners in the medical field to deliver the best possible care.
- Timely treatment of stroke, heart attacks or brain injuries can save more than $1 million per patient.
- The economic benefits of helicopter ambulance missions are six times higher than the costs.
- Patients transported by helicopter ambulance are more likely to survive than those transported by ground ambulance, even though they are more severely injured.
HOW DOES SOMEONE CONTACT STARS FOR HELP?
STARS is dispatched the same way as other emergency medical service providers. When the public calls 911, a central dispatch takes information and sends the most appropriate emergency service to respond. In cases where a critically ill patient is being transferred from a rural hospital to a larger hospital, it is a doctor-to-doctor decision.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE THE HELICOPTER TO RESPOND?
Once STARS has accepted a mission request, the helicopter and crew are typically airborne within about 10 minutes.
DOES STARS OPERATE 24/7?
Yes, all of our bases operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
CAN WEATHER CONDITIONS PREVENT STARS FROM RESPONDING TO A MEDICAL EMERGENCY?
There are times when severe weather conditions can limit availability of the aircraft, including severe thunderstorms, dense fog, high winds or icing. Before any mission is accepted, STARS pilots review the weather conditions in the areas of the planned flight path.
HOW IS STARS FUNDED? WILL PATIENTS BE BILLED FOR STARS?
Please visit this page for additional information on how STARS is funded in your province.
WHERE WILL THE MONEY RAISED IN MY PROVINCE BE DIRECTED?
Funds raised in your province will go to operating STARS in your province, unless we are otherwise directed by a donor.