HALO Air Am­bu­lance is crit­i­cal ser­vice

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - OPINION - (NOTE: see com­plete list of names on this let­ter on www.prairiepos­t.com)

Edi­tor: The County of Forty Mile NO.8 would like to reach out and pub­licly re­lay its sup­port of, and for the need of the HALO air am­bu­lance pro­gram that cur­rently ser­vices our area here in South­east Al­berta.

Our County cov­ers 7,283 square kilo­me­tres of slightly rolling hills and deep coulees. The County land­scapes in­clude large ar­eas of pasture and dry crop­land; ex­ten­sive ir­ri­gated ar­eas; the South Saskatchew­an river val­ley; Red Rock Nat­u­ral Area; the Milk River val­ley; Kennedy Coulee Eco­log­i­cal Re­serve; and en­vi­ron­men­tally sig­nif­i­cant and sen­si­tive ar­eas.

The avail­abil­ity of the HALOAir Am­bu­lance im­proves re­sponse time to trauma vic­tims in re­mote or in­ac­ces­si­ble ar­eas and in­creases the cov­er­age area for de­liv­er­ing qual­i­ta­tive med­i­cal care. That re­mote­ness of our re­gion within the County of Forty

Mile and sur­round­ing area, the lack of land­ing strips, and the lim­ited avail­abil­ity of other emer­gency air am­bu­lance he­li­copters is the rea­son HALO is so cru­cial to our County res­i­dents. Since its in­cep­tion in July 2007 HALO has flown many mis­sions within our County and sur­round­ing ar­eas, where tim­ing has been crit­i­cal for pa­tient care and well-be­ing.

It has been proven that HALO can cur­rently ser­vice all of South­ern Al­berta, from their home base in Medicine Hat, with a faster re­sponse time than other air am­bu­lance ser­vices. They can pro­vide a di­rect flight to the Cal­gary Foothills hos­pi­tal in less time than other air am­bu­lance ser­vices can, and can do so with­out stop­ping to re­fuel.

While pro­vid­ing this ser­vice, this al­lows other air am­bu­lance he­li­copters such as Stars “to stay in ser­vice” for their own im­me­di­ate area, while the pa­tient is be­ing trans­ported to hos­pi­tal.

Imag­ine be­ing a first re­spon­der on a scene where min­utes de­ter­mine whether a per­son lives or dies.

First re­spon­ders face these sit­u­a­tions fre­quently, but cur­rently have the sup­port of the HALOAlS (Ad­vance life Sup­port) helicopter and crew. With­out this re­source vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers will be left feel­ing help­less and pos­si­bly left with the life long ques­tion, could I have done more to save their life . Why should our vol­un­teers have to carry that bur­den when HALO air am­bu­lance can be on scene?

Why should the fam­i­lies have to take on that bur­den? HALO air am­bu­lance can and does sup­port our re­spon­ders mak­ing the out­comes much more suc­cess­ful. Re­mov­ing HALO doesn’t just af­fect one per­son, it can af­fect us all.

To our cur­rent Gov­ern­ment.. please con­sider the lives of all Al­ber­tans, when con­sid­er­ing fund­ing for any Air Am­bu­lances in our prov­ince, HALO in­cluded. HALO is “In flight for your life,” and ev­ery life is equal no mat­ter where you live.

To have to rely on stake­holder do­na­tions alone to pro­vide this lifesaving ser­vice is an in­jus­tice to any­one liv­ing within the HALO ser­vice bound­aries. It is time the gov­ern­ments of Al­berta and Canada re­al­izes that this vi­tal ser­vice HALO pro­vides to South­ern Al­berta is an es­sen­tial ser­vice and fully com­mits to pro­vid­ing long term sus­tain­able fund­ing into the fu­ture.

In pa­tient care, if time is re­ally of the essence, in South­ern Al­berta, HALO is the only an­swer. We plead that you Please con­tact (pro­vin­cial politi­cians) to ex­press your con­cerns and sup­port for HALO.

Steven Wikkerink

Reeve, County of Forty Mile No.8

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