Ornge: In it for life

For most Canadians, safety is a daily consideration: we follow road signs and speed limits to prevent driving accidents, look before we leap into unfamiliar activities and territories, and take precautionary measures both at work and in our personal lives to reduce the risk of accidents and tragedies befalling ourselves and our families.  The reality of life, however, is that safety can only go so far: accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, even when safety is taken into consideration.  Precautions cannot always prevent tragedies, and in emergency situations, emergency services are a critical part of providing safe and effective care to those involved.

It is for this reason that Ornge is an essential part of the Ontario healthcare system.  Ornge is the crucial link between patients and hospitals throughout the province of Ontario, providing medical transportation for over 21,000 critically ill and injured patients each year who require a specialized level of medical care. 

Ornge is a not-for-profit organization that was mandated by the provincial government in 2006 to provide a fully integrated medical transport service for Ontario residents.  Performing inter-facility hospital transfers, on-scene accident response, and the transportation of organ-retrieval teams, Ornge medical teams are available 24/7, 365 days a year to respond to the needs of patients across the province.

By combining two of the world’s most highly regulated industries – aviation and medicine – Ornge provides seamless access to healthcare for Ontario’s patients.  Operating state-of-the-art “mobile ICU’s” – medically equipped airplanes, helicopters, and critical care land ambulances – from twelve bases throughout the province, Ornge paramedics, paediatric transport nurses and transport medicine physicians provide patients with the same level of medical care en route that they would receive in a hospital.  In providing medical transport services throughout the province, Ornge is helping to ensure that residents in even the smallest communities and farthest corners of Ontario have access to high quality healthcare.

Due to the nature of Ornge’s operations, its staff members have seen and heard the stories of how patients of all ages have come to require its services; however, the most unfortunate stories involve children who fall victim to preventable injuries.  In response to its desire to “keep kids off stretchers,” Ornge established J Smarts in 2007, a unique charitable organization dedicated to reducing the frequency and severity of preventable injuries amongst children and youth.  J Smarts’ programming focuses on health promotion, injury prevention, risk management and risk education for youths aged 10 to 17 across the province of Ontario, encouraging students at schools, camps, and community groups across the province to “Think it Thru” by asking four simple questions “Should I?, Could I? Would I? What If?” before engaging in a potentially risky activity. Through its innovative outreach programs, J Smarts has helped over 15,000 children throughout Ontario to live safe and active lifestyles through childhood and beyond. 

To learn more about Ornge and J Smarts, please visit their websites at www.ornge.ca and www.jsmarts.ca.