B.C.’s air ambulance system consists of four helicopters, not enough to cover all of the province. (Colleen Flanagan/Black Press)

Petition calls for more air ambulances throughout B.C.

Not enough advanced life support, trauma care advocates say

A B.C. organization has started a petition calling for an expansion of air ambulance service across B.C. to improve response time in trauma care.

Hans Dysarsz started a non-profit group called B.C. HEROS (Helicopter Emergency Rescue Operations Society) while working to secure air ambulance service for Prince Rupert. He and Dr. M.J. Slabbert, who works at University Hospital of Northern B.C. in Prince George, are calling for more helicopters to improve response times and bring doctors to patients when necessary.

Dysarsz, a former medivac pilot who lives in South Delta, is also calling on Health Minister Adrian Dix to ease restrictions on firefighters treating injured people at accident scenes. He says B.C.’s four air ambulances leave large parts of B.C. without 24-hour advanced life support service, affecting 1.4 million rural people.

The society cites a 2017 report by B.C. Forest Safety Ombudsman Roger Harris calling for faster response to logging and other resource industry injuries in remote parts of B.C.

RELATED: Rural air ambulance response lacking

The group produced a map showing B.C.’s lack of air ambulance service compared to Alberta and U.S. states, with most of B.C.’s trauma centres located in the southwest corner. They also want B.C. to increase the number of “advanced life support” ground ambulances.

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