Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo’s emergency helicopter service Local HERO has been having a busy year.
Andrea Montgomery Spring, Executive Director of Local HERO stated they’ve been busier this year to date than 2021, which had been busier than 2020.
She mentioned that HERO has already been on standby 34 times and has flown 14 times between January to April of this year.
Early Friday morning, they responded to a call 140 km north of Fort McMurray of a serious injury at an industrial site.
Last week, a cardiac patient was flown directly from the pickup site north of the city to a helipad at U of A for advanced treatment.
Spring also clarified that despite some misleading reports, it was HERO that was involved in the search for the missing canoeist over the May long weekend.
So far over half of this year’s calls have been night calls, which Spring says have been possible for the crew thanks to night vision goggles.
In late March the Alberta Government announced an additional $2 million in funding under a new five-year contract which has not yet come into effect for HERO.
“Once received, it will indeed relieve some of the financial pressure, but fundraising is still a huge need,” says Spring.
An increase in flights is an increase in expenses, but Spring says there will “never be a charge to patients.”
Their next fundraiser is the Local HERO Foundation Car Show 2022 on July 16.