Air rescue service on a mission to save lives | TheUnion.com
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Air rescue service on a mission to save lives

California Shock Trauma Air Rescue (CALSTAR), nonprofit air ambulance, provides air transport to hospitals while providing life saving medical treatment on board.

Critical patients who receive trauma treatment within the “golden hour” of an accident have been shown to have a greater chance of survival and a quicker recovery. In some portions of Northern California, transportation of a patient during the “golden hour” is only possible through air transportation, making CALSTAR a crucial service to the community.

CALSTAR was founded in 1983, has safely transported over 30,000 patients, and has grown from one to ten rotor (helicopter) bases in Northern California, including a base in Auburn. CALSTAR also operates a fixed wing (airplane) base in McClellan Park.



CALSTAR is activated through the 911 system. The flight team, consisting of two Certified Flight Registered Nurses (CFRN) and a licensed pilot, arrives at the scene, then transports the patient to the closest medically appropriate facility. CALSTAR pilots have a minimum of 3,000 pilot in command hours and significant experience flying in rural mountain terrain. During transport, the patient receives care from the CFRNs who are in communication with the receiving hospital.

CALSTAR is dedicated to the well being of the community, actively educating the public about their mission, service and membership program. Sonja Vargas, Community Service Coordinator for CALSTAR, says, “I go out and give presentations. I love going out and speaking to different community groups and educating them.” CALSTAR sponsors medical symposiums and training with First Responders in surrounding counties, and is committed to high school drug and alcohol awareness programs.




CALSTAR flies patients of all ages. Even with health insurance, air transportation can cost thousands. CALSTAR understands that a medical crisis can cause a financial burden, and offers an annual membership program. Patients transported by CALSTAR are billed through their insurance program. Any remaining balance, that is not covered by insurance, is absorbed for CALSTAR members if flown by CALSTAR or one of CALSTAR’s reciprocal partners. If a CALSTAR member has no insurance, the cost for medically appropriate air transportation will be waived if flown by CALSTAR or one of their reciprocal partners.

As a private nonprofit organization, CALSTAR is not funded by the State of California. They receive some funding for special equipment needs, but rely on donations and support from the community.

Annual membership cost is $45 for family and $40 individual. Discounted memberships to affiliated groups of 15 or more are available. Membership also provides coverage with partner programs in California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Wyoming and Nevada.

For membership information or to make a donation, call 530-887-0569, toll free 1-888-207-LIFE, or visit http://www.calstar.org.

California Shock Trauma Air Rescue

If a CALSTAR member has no insurance, the cost for medically appropriate air transportation will be waived if flown by CALSTAR or one of their reciprocal partners

Annual membership cost is $45/family and $40/individual with discounted group memberships available.

Membership provides coverage with partner programs in California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Wyoming and Nevada.

For membership information or to make a donation, call (530) 887-0569, toll free 1 (888) 207-LIFE, or visit http://www.calstar.org


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