STARS still flying high

Big Lakes County received a special photo at its regular meeting Jan. 11 for its longtime funding support to Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS). Big Lakes Reeve Robert Nygaard, left, accepts the gift from STARS senior municipal relations liaison Glenda Farnden.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

STARS air ambulance service continues to soar in Big Lakes County and the surrounding High Prairie region.
Again, the region was the busiest for the Grande Prairie base for STARS, says Glenda Farnden, senior municipal relations liaison for STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service).
“High Prairie and Big Lakes was the number-one community served by the northern STARS base,” said Farnden, who updated Big Lakes council at its regular meeting Jan. 11.
“You have been the number-one community for many years.”
The region recorded 39 missions in 2022, up from 38 from the year before.
Farnden told council STARS appreciates the long-term commitment from Big Lakes, which has been partner since 2008.
Several years ago, council passed a motion to contribute $25,000 in annual funding for four years from 2022-25.
“Many other municipalities are following your lead to commit a fixed rate for several years rather than a per-capita rate,” Farn- den said.
She acknowledged that the Town of High Prairie is also a good regional partner, located inside the boundaries of the county.
“Regional partnerships are important for STARS,” Farnden said.
“We’re all in this together.”
She also announced that the provincial government increased its portion of funding to STARS to 50 per cent starting in late 2022, up from 20 per cent.
“We will have more stability for STARS,” Farnden said.
Records show the number of missions for critical inter-facility transfers based at the High Prairie Health Complex hit a high of 21 in 2022.
Since the new High Prairie Health Complex opened in 2017, missions rose from 10 in 2018, 15 in 2019, down to six in 2020, and 16 in 2021.
STARS has also rebranded itself – “Critical care, anywhere”, she added.
“We learned a lot of new things from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Farnden said.
Mission rates continue to increase.
STARS has also updated its fleet, services and expertise.

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