Response Area

Thank you to Midwest Surveys for creating the new map for HALO 1! The map outlines our response area capabilities and flight time radius!


We often get asked “what happens when you call 911?”

There are two different types of air ambulances in Alberta – fixed wing and rotary. Each has a slightly different dispatch pathway due to different mission profiles. Rotary wing air ambulances in Alberta are provided by three operators: HALO, STARS and HERO. Rotary wing air ambulances can be used for transfers between hospitals but are mostly used to respond directly to emergency scenes in conjunction with ground EMS units and other responders. The advantage a helicopter provides in these situations is the ability to provide rapid transportation direct to a hospital capable of caring for that patient’s injuries or illness.

The following process illustrates the general steps involved in dispatching a helicopter to a visit motor vehicle crash: 1. Someone calls 911 and reports the incident. The 911 call reception center determines which initial response agencies (police, fire, EMS) may be required and transfers the call to the dispatch centers for those agencies. 2. In the case of EMS, the call will go to one of the provincial EMS dispatch centers – an EMS call in southern Alberta will wind up in the Southern Communications Center in Calgary. 3. The Emergency Communications Officer assigned to the call will work through a medical questionnaire with the caller to determine possible extent of injuries and resources needed. One possible identified resource may be a rotary wing air ambulance response to the scene. 4. The information provided by the caller may indicate the need for a potential rotary wing air ambulance response or the responding EMS crew may request a response based on medical need or geographical access concerns. The Emergency Link Center (ELC) is then brought into the call. 5. The role of the ELC is to coordinate and support rotary air ambulance operations in the province. If a potential medical need is identified as a launch reason, specially trained Transport Physicians are consulted to provide guidance on when or if to launch a helicopter from a medical perspective. EMS Operations Supervisors may be consulted to advise on geographical or resource questions – they provide the “local” knowledge. 6. Once the decision is made to launch, the helicopter that can meet the requirements of the call considering issues such as availability, weather, response times, specific medical needs, transport destination and so on, is dispatched.”

If you look at the map attached, the light green oval to the left of the map indicates HALO’s reach for a mission while still being able to take the patient to a Calgary Hospital without a refuel. The red circles are HALO’s reach when returning to the Medicine Hat Hospital.

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