BC Emergency Health Services Air Ambulance Service
BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) air ambulances respond to critical hospital transfer patients as well as emergency 9-1-1 medical calls. About 90 per cent of air ambulance transports are interfacility transfers, from hospital to hospital. Annually, BCEHS responds to more than 7,300 patients requiring transportation by air ambulance. Airplane transports account for 70 per cent of all air ambulance calls; helicopters are used in 30 per cent of calls.
The BCEHS air ambulance program currently has a dedicated fleet of 16: six air ambulance helicopters and 10 air ambulance planes. We have 51 dedicated helicopter pilots and 70 dedicated fixed wing pilots.
Dedicated Air Resources:
Vancouver: Three planes, two helicopters
Nanaimo: One plane, one helicopter
Kamloops: One helicopter
Kelowna: Three planes
Prince George: Two planes, one helicopter
Prince Rupert: One helicopter
Fort St John: One plane
In addition to our dedicated air resources, BCEHS calls upon about 35 air carriers around the province to provide service as needed.
Autolaunch: BCEHS can simultaneously dispatch both ground ambulance(s) and an air ambulance helicopter(s) for specific emergency medical responses based on information provided from the scene by 9-1-1 callers.
Night Vision: Five BCEHS air ambulance helicopters, based in Vancouver, Nanaimo, Prince Rupert and Kamloops, are equipped with night vision technology.
Critical Care Program: Critical Care Paramedics (highest level of paramedic care, with a focus on air medical response) are deployed from aircraft bases in Prince George, Kelowna, Kamloops, Vancouver and Nanaimo.
EHS LifeFlight launched Transfusion program
Nova Scotia’s EHS LifeFlight launched a transfusion program last summer that has further enhanced patient service delivery.
On June 8, 2020, EHS LifeFlight adult critical care teams began carrying two units of blood on all missions for transfusions, becoming the second air medical transport service to offer such a program in Canada and the first in Atlantic Canada.
The initiative was developed in partnership with Nova Scotia Health’s Transfusion Medicine service at the Halifax Infirmary.
In time-sensitive situations, early administration of blood could potentially have a major impact on patient care.
“The addition of a blood products program has assisted the EHS LifeFlight teams in the treatment of many injuries and illnesses in a timelier manner,” said Colin Flynn, Senior Manager, EHS LifeFlight. “For trauma-related missions, the administration of blood products early in the process could have a significant positive impact on our patients.”
Any unopened blood is cycled back to the Transfusion Medicine laboratory.
“We are thankful to NSH Transfusion Medicine Program for their partnership in this initiative. We encourage everyone who is eligible to roll up your sleeve and give!”
– Colin Flynn
Quebecers to benefit from Helico Secours cooperative
A cooperative is formed around people, groups, partners and companies whose members aim at sustainable economic and social development for Quebec society. Helico Secours is intent on delivering great healthcare.
Helico Secours, a Canadian cooperative, will soon offer its services throughout Quebec. The cooperative will specialise in rescue and helicopter medical transport and will operate a fleet of aircraft dedicated to its mission. The cooperative formula is a known model in Quebec and Helico Secours is also supported by the Quebec Regional Development Cooperative (CDRQ) for the implementation of the project.
The mission of Helico Secours is to offer equitable access to medical air and helicopter emergency transport to Quebecers, so that they can receive advanced health care and increase their chances of survival, regardless of whether they live in urban, rural or remote areas. “Wanting to help as many families as possible, not just those who enjoy the outdoors, but ‘Mr and Mrs Everyone’, in order to bring them peace of mind and security, is our objective,” affirms François Rivard, founding member and aeromedical specialist in Quebec.
A cooperative is formed around people, groups, partners and companies whose members are owners and aim at sustainable economic and social development for Quebec society. “We are controlled by the member organisations that use our products and services. It is the people who control our organisation, not the money. Each member has the same right to speak,” says Hakim Guiddir, founding member and helicopter pilot.
The Helico Secours cooperative puts people first and bases its operational decisions on patient benefit objectives. It will therefore stand out from its competition. “Being a cooperative means participating in the common good, with a more just and equitable service. The more of us who share the same values, the more we will contribute to saving lives in the community,” underlines Frédéric Lemoine, founding member and flight paramedic.
The cooperative has four categories of members: individual users; corporate users; workers and support.
Paramedics play an important role in international air ambulance missions, helping to move patients safely home when they become ill or injured while abroad. Canadian Paramedicine recently caught up with Graham Williamson, CEO of LIFESUPPORT Air Medical Services, Inc. to talk about the critical work performed by Paramedics on international air ambulance missions.
According to Williamson, Paramedics are often dispatched on international medical evacuation missions around the world, particularly when the situations are complex and the demands are high. “Paramedics are out-of-hospital experts who complement our multi-disciplinary teams of Critical Care Registered Nurses, Respiratory Therapists and Physicians” said Williamson, himself a licensed Paramedic. “As a Paramedic, I know the valuable skill set that our profession brings to our Air Medical Crews in the international transport environment.”
Paramedics at LIFESUPPORT are paired with a Critical Care Registered Nurse, Respiratory Therapist or Physician on each mission, depending on the care needs of the patient. “We value and appreciate that our Paramedics are expert communicators. They are the ones who really excel when it comes to communicating with dispatch, providing status updates and keeping the team back home apprised of events. This is something that is natural and normal for the Paramedic profession – communicating with dispatch – but not normal for our Registered Nurses who don’t have a dispatch centre when working in the hospital.”
The nature of LIFESUPPORT’s work in the global environment means that Paramedics are often dispatched with little or no notice when a mission arises. “We could be airborne to almost anywhere in the world with only a moment’s notice to plan and prepare for the mission. Our Paramedics work along side other members of the Air Medical Crew to ensure that our equipment is rescue ready, in top working order, that additional supplies, drugs and medications are prepared as needed. We rely on our Paramedics not only to provide patient care, but also to be experts in safe patient handling, loading, lifting and securing.”
LIFESUPPORT’s mission profiles and taskings are complex and dynamic he said. “No mission is ever the same and every tasking is unique, much like an emergency air ambulance scene call or street call” he said. When asked about what kinds of aircraft LIFESUPPORT’s Paramedics may find themselves flying on, Canadian Paramedicine learned that LIFESUPPORT dispatches a variety of aircraft on mission from it’s bases across Canada.
“Our Canadian teams operate from Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto” said Williamson. “Vancouver and Calgary tend to serve shorter range air ambulance missions, using the King Air 300. These are short haul missions to the USA, such as to California and Arizona”. From it’s Toronto base, LIFESUPPORT utilizes a Falcon 20 long range medevac jet. “Our Toronto based Falcon 20 is an amazing aircraft” said Williamson. “It has the range – the legs to get us virtually anywhere in the world. Being able to cross the Atlantic with just one technical stop en route to anywhere in Europe provides LIFESUPPORT with significant long range capabilities and the ability to provide better patient care with less fuel stops. “The stand up cabin and on board lavatory are very important on long haul missions” he noted.
When asked about other aircraft that LIFESUPPORT utilizes for it’s global mission profile, Williamson shed some light on the diverse aircraft fleet that LIFESUPPORT’s Paramedics have been called upon to utilize during the pandemic. “As borders close and restrictions have become tighter and tighter, having an ultra long range aircraft that can overfly problematic or closed areas is key to our mission success. We conduct quite a number of security related and high profile evacuation missions on behalf of VIP clients around the world. For these high profile missions, we use ultra long range business jets such as the Gulfstream V or Falcon 7X”
Williamson notes a recent high profile mission where LIFESUPPORT flew a patient from Vancouver to Singapore, with just one stop en route for fuel. “The pilots changed out in Tokyo but the Paramedics kept going!”. Asked what it was like for Paramedics who work on ultra-long range missions, Williamson said it’s not like air ambulance aircraft that they normally use. “These aircraft are staffed with a flight attendant, fully stocked galley, and private bedroom for our Air Medical Crews to rest and sleep in between taking turns caring for the patient”.
About LIFESUPPORT Air Medical Services, Inc.
LIFESUPPORT Air Medical Services is a Canadian-based international air ambulance and medical transport firm with base locations in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Fort Lauderdale Florida and Frankfurt, Germany. LIFESUPPORT is internationally accredited by the European Air Medical Institute and provides air ambulance, emergency transport and out-of-hospital healthcare solutions to insurance companies, governments, hospitals and major corporations.