Because every second counts!
HEROS
Mission Statement

Countries in Europe, Australia, South Africa, as well as several provinces in Canada have non-profit societies which for decades have provided helicopter emergency medical services. In BC, if you suffer a fall, have a heart attack, get hurt in the woods, or are involved in a serious highway traffic accident, it could be hours before you reach a hospital. There is no dedicated air ambulance helicopter coming to rescue you. BC HEROS will provide that service.

Our Mission

Most European countries as well as Australia and South Africa, have for many decades had the benefit of doctor-led EMS/prehospital care models, while in Canada, several provinces have adopted Advanced Life Support paramedic-led EMS models. However, in British Columbia the vast majority of people in the province have neither doctor-led nor ALS-led systems to come to their aid in the event of an emergency. B.C. Emergency Health Services does not utilize ALS paramedics in any rural areas. If you sustain a traumatic critical injury or life-threatening condition such as a heart attack or stroke, chances are you will be at the mercy of an under-staffed, under-resourced, under-funded and under-trained EMS system primarily made up of part-time Basic Life Support ambulance attendants – all of whom are doing the very best they can to save your life given what meagre resources and training the government provides. Many men and women of the BC Ambulance Service suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result. We know how to fix these issues but, simply put, there has been a complete lack of political interest to do so in the past. This preventable carnage and mental trauma must be stopped.

In most areas of our great province, should you fall victim to even a relatively simple, highly-treatable but time-sensitive life-threatening condition, you or your loved one are likely to suffer needlessly as a result of delays in the arrival of definitive medical care. In some cases you will be left with a debilitating lifelong medical condition or you will die.

In many areas of B.C., it is not uncommon for ambulance wait times to be measured in hours. Even in urban areas, delays in the arrival of an ambulance can run into the tens of minutes, for even critical- and urgent-care needs patients. BC’s chosen ‘scoop and run’ EMS model (the lowest cost per-patient-transported EMS model) is not producing the best possible patient outcomes.

B.C. HEROS mission statement

  • To inform British Columbians about the shortcomings of our existing EMS/prehospital care model and the need to update what is an antiquated system.
  • To educate British Columbians of the merits of other EMS models in use worldwide for more than 50 years.
  • To convince the provincial government to initiate a universal cost/benefit analysis conducted by an independent panel of university researchers to prove to B.C. taxpayers and government that our chosen EMS model is vastly more costly to society than far more capable doctor-led EMS models long since in use in other jurisdictions.
  • To lobby the B.C. government to establish a Royal Commission to review all aspects of prehospital care provision throughout the province, including full reviews of: the Emergency Health Act, the province-wide EMS dispatch system, and all aspects of ambulance operations (ground and air). The recommendations of this study should be binding and put into effect as soon as possible.
  • To establish changes in the B.C. Emergency Health Act to allow the unrestricted use of all appropriately-licenced medical personnel to provide prehospital care. That will enable unrestricted tasking of doctors, search and rescue personnel, fire rescue services, Emergency Management B.C. personnel, police officers, non-profit service providers like the Red Cross, and other municipally- or regionally-provided resources to treat and transport patients in prehospital settings. All of the indicated resources are currently not legally allowed to provide full-spectrum EMS services or transport.
  • To lobby government to consider replacing the Emergency Medical Assistants Licensing Board with a College of Paramedics.
  • Our Vision

    How we will accomplish our goals

    We will continue to call for the provincial government to incorporate a provincewide physician-led emergency medical rescue service which borrows from the best systems now being utilized in other jurisdictions that use state-of-the-art equipment and techniques. This service should provide 24-hour coverage staffed by an advanced life support paramedic or emergency physician in all but the worst weather conditions, giving all British Columbians much better survival rates in life-threatening situations. This will be done in consultation with all levels of government and will involve all first-responder services in B.C., including ambulance, fire rescue, police, search and rescue, highway rescue, health authorities and hospital personnel.

    Who needs HEROS?

    Our province is surrounded by mountains, rivers, lakes and forests. We love to explore that land, whether it be for hiking, camping, fishing, boating, snowmobiling, biking, skiing or four-wheeling. We live and work in small towns and remote aboriginal communities which have no immediate access to trauma centres when there is a medical emergency. Currently in large parts of B.C., helicopter rescue service is available only on an ad-hoc basis, provided by local air charter services, and it is rarely used. The system B.C. HEROS. Is advocating will fill in those gaps in emergency coverage. The mining, oil and gas, forestry and transportation sectors are expanding and those workers need the protection an air ambulance helicopter staffed with an advanced life support paramedic and/or an emergency doctor trained in critical care and anaesthesia. Such a system will bring an unprecedented degree of safety that could result in reduced WorkSafeBC premiums for employers and lower ICBC insurance payouts.

    How helicopter operations should be staffed

    B.C. HEROS recommends medical rescue crews be made up of a helicopter pilot and co-pilot, a critical-care nurse and a paramedic with advanced lifesaving skills. Each of these crews would be strategically based around the province so that no person is beyond accessibility within the “golden hour,” after which survival rates drop dramatically. If a medical situation arises which requires the services of an emergency physician, HEROS will seek approval to transport that hospital doctor to the remote location of the patient to provide specialized on-scene medical care. Pilots must be trained to perform instrument flight rules (IFR) missions and night-time missions using military-grade night vision goggles. Ultimately, the province should provide all-weather service as well, using de-icing equipment.

    Where each of B.C’s medical rescue helicopters will be capable of flying?

    The province needs a fleet of helicopters built specifically for medevac missions and equipped with an approved medical cabin capable of flying for at least 3½ hours, with 30 minutes of reserve fuel. A helicopter based in Prince George, for instance, should be capable of providing rapid two-way transport from its base in the city to rescue critically sick and injured patients from as far away as Tsay Keh Dene (Fort Ware) to the north, 100 Mile House to the south, Houston to the west and Alberta border to the east. Strategically-placed refueling caches will allow our helicopter to expand its range beyond those borders, to cover all of B.C.

    The call for HEROS

    Injuries such as those sustained in motor vehicle collisions and falls are the leading cause of death in Canadians up to the age of 44. Of people who die as a result of trauma in northern B.C, 75 per cent die before they reach a hospital. The risk of death increases to 82 per cent in northwestern B.C.

    The need for private and corporate funding

    To fund the awareness campaign B.C. HEROS is proposing, our non-profit society is seeking private donations and corporate support to allow us to connect with British Columbians and get the message out to the provincial government and health authorities that public demand for a best-possible system of prehospital care can no longer be ignored.

    Volunteer for B.C. HEROS.

    To be successful as a non-profit organization, B.C. HEROS needs your help. We will soon be announcing fundraising initiatives and we will ask the people of British Columbia to get involved in organizing special events and hosting public information forums.


    How We Will Accomplish Our Goals

    By working together with other first-responder emergency medical services, hospital personnel, the Northern Health Authority, the First Nations Health Authority, and all three levels of government to ensure our rapid-response paramedics, nurses, and flight crews will be trained to use state of the art technology and techniques to be ready to respond to any emergency at any time.

    Who Needs HEROS?

    BC is surrounded by mountains, rivers, lakes and forests. We love to explore that land, whether it be for hiking, camping, fishing, boating, snowmobiling, biking, skiing or four-wheeling. We live and work in small towns and remote aboriginal communities which have no immediate access to trauma centres when there is a medical emergency. Currently in BC, helicopter rescue service is available only on an ad-hoc basis, provided by local air charter services, and it is rarely used. HEROS aims to fill in those gaps. The mining, oil and gas, and forestry sectors are expanding and those workers need the protection an air ambulance helicopter can offer. Having skilled medical care available in a HEROS helicopter will add an unprecedented degree of safety that could result in reduced WorkSafeBC premiums for employers and reduced ICBC insurance payouts. We will also investigate the possibility of working together with search and rescue crews for their emergency missions.

    HEROS Operations

    All BC HEROS mission crews will be made up of a helicopter pilot and co-pilot, a critical-care nurse and a paramedic with advanced lifesaving skills. If a medical situation arises which requires the services of an emergency physician, HEROS will seek approval to transport that hospital doctor to the remote location of the patient to provide specialized on-scene medical care. During the initial phase, our goal is to provide emergency medical service as a daytime-only, every-day operation. Eventually we will expand the service so our pilots can fly IFR missions and night missions using military-grade night vision goggles. Ultimately, we would provide all-weather service as well, using de-icing equipment.

    Where Will HEROS Fly?

    We plan to acquire a helicopter built specifically for medevac missions and equipped with an approved medical cabin capable of flying for 3½ hours, with 30 minutes of reserve fuel. Our rescue helicopter will be capable of providing rapid two-way transport from its base in Prince George to rescue critically sick and injured patients from as far away as Mackenzie to the north, 100 Mile House to the south, Houston to the west and Alberta border to the east. Strategically-placed refueling caches will allow our helicopter to expand its range beyond those borders, to cover all of BC.

    The Call for HEROS

    Injuries such as those sustained in motor vehicle collisions and falls are the leading cause of death in Canadians up to the age of 44. Of people who die as a result of trauma in BC, 75 per cent die before they reach a hospital. The risk of death increases to 82 per cent in north-western BC.

    How You Can Help

    To supplement government contributions to this project and enhance the quality of service HEROS can deliver, our non-profit society will seek private donations and corporate support. Together, that will allow us to purchase a helicopter, build or rent a hangar storage facility/base of operations, and provide salaries for the flight personnel and medical specialists needed to operate our service. We are now accepting donations from individuals and are actively seeking sponsorships from local businesses and corporations through a charitable fund. Your tax-deductible donations will help BC HEROS achieve liftoff.

    Volunteer HEROS

    To be successful as a non-profit organization, BC HEROS needs your help. We will soon be announcing fundraising initiatives and we will ask the people of BC to get involved in organizing special events and hosting public information forums.