STARS and Ornge air ambulance services are partnering to raise awareness of snowmobile safety in an effort to reduce snowmobile related injuries and fatalities in Canada this winter season. The partnership marks the first time two air ambulance services in Canada have jointly promoted safe riding.
Since 2013, Ornge has transported more than 140 patients related to snowmobile trauma. During this same time period, STARS responded to 46 snowmobile related emergencies.
“STARS and Ornge share a common goal of saving lives across Canada,” says STARS president and CEO Andrea Robertson. “By partnering together we want to increase safety for Canadians who use snowmobiles for work and recreation.”
Snowmobile enthusiasts need to make informed and proactive snowmobile-related decisions to improve the wellbeing of passengers and drivers. STARS and Ornge encourage riders to obtain safety training and drive sober.
“Ornge responds to hundreds of snowmobile and recreational vehicle trauma,” says Dr. Andrew McCallum, President and CEO of Ornge. “One is too many. Through our partnership with STARS, we want to emphasize the importance of making informed and safe decisions while enjoying the trails this winter season. ”
To arrive home safely, snowmobilers are encouraged to:
- Know the scenario, and expect the unexpected.
- Spread out to avoid collisions.
- Be vigilant and remain situationally aware.
- Stay on the trail and keep to the right.
- Pack an emergency kit to prepare for emergency situations.
- Drive sober.
- Ride within your abilities and recognize potential hidden hazards including barbed wire fences, railway tracks, steep drops and avalanche areas.
- Be mindful of changing weather conditions, thin ice and poor visibility.
- Wear appropriate safety gear.
- Avoid riding in unfamiliar areas at night.
- Take precautions to protect against hypothermia, frostbite and snow blindness.
- Take extra care when carrying passengers and only use snowmobiles designed for that purpose and carry one passenger at a time.
- Let someone knows where you will be, and when you expect to return.
- Avoid riding alone.
- Carry GPS, an emergency beacon, avalanche airbag (where appropriate), radio, first aid kit, tow rope, saws, extra clothing and rations.
- Maintain equipment in good working order.
- Take a safety course.
Flight crew members from both organizations are available to speak with media today at bases across Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Learn more about snowmobile safety by visiting the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organization’s website at www.ccso-ccom.ca
The Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) is a non-profit helicopter emergency medical service (EMS) that provides rapid and specialized medical care and transportation for critically ill and injured patients. STARS has flown more than 30,000 missions since it began in 1985, and operates 24-hours a day with 11 helicopters at six bases in Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, and Grande Prairie.
Ornge, a not-for-profit organization, co-ordinates all aspects of Ontario’s air ambulance system, the critical care land transport program, paediatric transport program and the authorization of air and land ambulance transfers between hospitals. Ornge performs more than 18,000 patient transports in Ontario each year.