Residents and visitors to the Turtleford area in west central Saskatchewan now have improved access to life saving critical care with a new landing pad for use by the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS).
The landing pad is located next to the Riverside Health Complex in Turtleford and was made possible by the generous donations of two local organizations, the Town of Turtleford, the Rural Municipality of Mervin, and local and area businesses, in collaboration with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA).
“Emergency medical services in Saskatchewan are an important lifeline, particularly for people who live and work in rural and remote areas,” said Colleen Young, MLA for Lloydminster. “Our government commends the municipalities, service organizations and businesses whose financial contributions made this landing pad possible.”
“This improved, appropriate landing site greatly enhances emergency services for people in and around the Turtleford area,” said Neal Sylvestre, SHA Executive Director of Continuing Care for the north west sector of Integrated Northern Health. “While STARS has been serving Turtleford since 2016, its helicopters did not have a developed site at the health facility on which to land.”
“Completion of this new solid surfaced landing pad reduces risks to patients, staff, STARS personnel, equipment and STARS helicopters themselves by landing on ground that may be uneven and subject to challenges with water and other natural factors,” Sylvestre added. “We are deeply grateful to the Turtleford and District Lions Club for spearheading the project and providing significant financial support along with the former Riverside Ski Hill organization.”
Red Pearce, Turtleford Lions Club treasurer, said he and his fellow Lions Club members are pleased that their idea for a hard surface landing pad has become a reality. “We were concerned with the potential of STARS helicopters not being able to land at the Turtleford health facility because of soft or compromised natural landing surfaces. We extend our appreciation to the SHA, Riverside Health Complex, members of the former ski hill organization, and all of the businesses and individuals who stepped forward to support this important initiative,” stated Pearce.
The Turtleford Helipad cost about $45,000 in cash and in-kind services including sand and gravel, topsoil, turf, rubber paving, and transportation and installation of rig mats that form the surface of the helipad. In the 12 months from April 2018 to March 2019, STARS responded to Turtleford nine times. From April 30, 2012 to March 31, 2019, STARS has transported or provided care to 48 patients at Turtleford.
A great day in Turtleford as they opened the new landing pad next to Riverside Health Complex for use by STARS Air Ambulance.