Thunder Bay without ORNGE helicopter service
Air ambulance employees say emergency service is understaffed
Thunder Bay currently has no ORNGE air ambulance helicopter service because of an understaffing issue, according to two ORNGE employees.
Two ORNGE employees spoke with CBC News and confirmed that the area was currently without helicopter service because pilots were transferred to Moosonee last Thursday.
They added the situation means that if you were injured on an area highway it could take a lot longer to get you to hospital.
The workers, whom CBC agreed not to identify, said it’s a matter of understaffing but still wonder why the air ambulance service would choose to send pilots to Moosonee. The northeastern Ontario town has an area population of about 13,000 people, they said, whereas a helicopter in Thunder Bay serves close 140,000 people.
Conservative critic for transportation and infrastructure, Frank Klees, says this is a situation that clearly highlights the systemic issues in ORNGE.
"Staff up, ensure that you have sufficient paramedics and pilots on staff at these bases to ensure that 24/7 the crews are ready to go," Klees said.
"The people in this province, whether it be Northern Ontario or anywhere else in this province, should be able to count on the emergency service being there when it's needed."
A spokesperson for ORNGE says the agency will bring in more pilots next month and that he expects the Thunder Bay helicopter service will be functioning again by Wednesday.