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UPDATE: AHS involvement in Fort McMurray wildfire disaster

May 4, 2016

FORT McMURRAY – Alberta Health Services (AHS) is continuing to support Albertans impacted by a wildfire burning in and near Fort McMurray.

UPDATES:

AHS is working to ensure people displaced from their homes and communities are supported, in terms of their health care needs.

We have health care teams at reception/evacuation centres in Fort McKay, Lac La Biche, Noralta Lodge, Anzac, the Firebag oilsands camp north of Fort McMurray, and at the reception centre set up at Northlands by the City of Edmonton.

Those teams include physicians and frontline health care workers from Public Health, Mental Health, Pharmacy Services and EMS.

We are currently looking at bolstering health care support at Anzac, Firebag and Lac La Biche.

AHS physicians and staff in Edmonton Zone are now caring for 102 acute care patients and continuing care clients who were airlifted from the Firebag oilsands camp early on Tuesday morning.

Patients and clients are being cared for at facilities including the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Grey Nuns Community Hospital, Leduc Community Hospital, Sturgeon Community Hospital, University of Alberta Hospital, Misericordia Community Hospital, Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre, Jubilee Lodge Nursing Home and Salem Manor Nursing Home.

Clients of the Fort McMurray Recovery Centre – which was successfully evacuated on Sunday - were discharged from treatment and safely evacuated to Edmonton on a bus yesterday.

AHS has capacity to care for the displaced patients and continuing care clients.

At this time we believe the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre is structurally intact however we understand it has been affected by smoke.

We do not know the status of other AHS-owned health care buildings (or buildings in which we have programs and services) in Fort McMurray. These include Fort McMurray Community Health Services, Fort McMurray Queen Street Building – Environmental Public Health, Fort McMurray Provincial Building – Addiction Services – Adult and Youth Counselling and the Pastew Place Detoxification Centre.

We know there are people who have not left Fort McMurray despite the mandatory evacuation order. The 911 system remains operational with EMS response.

Many of our physicians, staff and volunteers have been significantly impacted by the wildfire, including some who have lost homes. Our hearts go out to them and we are doing all we can to support them.

Please visit www.rmwb.ca  and www.alberta.ca/emergency.cfm  for the most up-to-date information. You can also visit www.ahs.ca/wildfire. We will update that webpage as needed, bearing in mind the situation is changing rapidly.

As information is known, HealthLink (811) will be the place for family members to find out information on their loved ones.

AHS will continue to provide updates as they become available.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Kerry Williamson
AHS Communications
780-905-5890