STARS looks for continued funding from PRRD


Photo: Flight Paramedic Mark vanWerkhoven (right) and Major Gifts Manager Glenda Farnden present to the Peace River Regional District on Thursday – Christine Rumleskie/

Representatives from STARS Air Ambulance gave directors from the Peace River Regional District a summary of how 2009 went for the organization on Thursday.

STARS provides life-saving helicopter transportation, and also assists in search and rescue missions, in both B.C. and Alberta.

STARS Flight Paramedic Mark vanWerkhoven says there were 46 calls for assistance the Regional District in 2009.  Of the calls received, 28 calls were dispatched, 25 patients were carried, and four Alberta Patients were transported to B.C. hospitals.

VanWerkhoven says STARS has been involved in numerous collaborations between Peace Region search and rescue groups and the B.C. Ambulance Service crew.  He notes one incident near Fort St. John in September that required the assistance of STARS and the North Peace Search and Rescue group. (That story can be viewed by clicking here)


VanWerkhoven also there have been some unique cases that tested STARS’ problem solving skills.   One incident required that a patient be airlifted from Fort St. John to the hospital in Grande Prairie. [asset|aid=2389|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=9d3d4c026b5de2fcf5bd7f66d9e854f3-MarkVW-2_1_Pub.mp3]

So he says, BC Ambulance decided the patient would be transported by ground to Grande Prairie.  STARS crew flew to Fort St. John, and assisted with patient care during ground transportation.  He says while the mission didn’t involve air transport, it did involve STARS’ ‘hands in the air.’


But, STARS Major Gifts Manager Glenda Farnden says the organization saw a substantial decrease in funding last year.  She says due to the economic downturn, industry support dropped $1.8 million.  On Thursday, STARS requested that the Regional District to continue its per-capita contribution to the organization.  Last year, the PRRD donated $116,528 (which amounts to $2 per person in the region), making it the first District in B.C. to contribute to STARS.