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Case Study

Critical Medical Support for Mikisew Cree First Nation During Wildfire Evacuation



International SOS was integral in providing medical services to members of the Mikisew Cree First Nation that were forced to evacuate their homes due to wildfires. Our Medical Service team had to operate quickly to support the population and were relied upon for their expertise to provide medical care for over 14 days after the evacuation.


On May 30th, 2023, the population of Fort Chipewyan, a small community in Northern Alberta, Canada, was given an evacuation order due to substantial wildfires in the region. The community has no road access in the summer, resulting in the entire population needing to be transported by air and water to a nearby municipality. The subsequent influx of evacuees -many of which suffering from smoke-inhalation complications- overwhelmed the medical infrastructure of the receiving community.


In less than 48 hours International SOS dispatched a medical services team to the evacuation site. This team consisted of skilled Licenced Practical Nurses (LPNs) supplied with an ambulance stocked with both Advanced Care Life Support Equipment, as well as a significant amount of extra medication to adequately provide medical support for an extended period of time. These medical services included first aid, medication management, pain relief, and 24/7 assistance in ad-hoc treatment centers such as hotel rooms. This on-site treatment was supported by our remote medical response center, which is staffed by fully trained and certified nurse practitioners. 


International SOS provided both emergency and short-term medical treatment to the evacuees of Fort Chipewyan for over two weeks. The Mikisew Cree First Nation expressed their appreciation for the assistance, particularly noting the positive impact that our efforts had on both the elders and young of the community. This operation helped further build our relationship with the Mikisew Cree First Nation, and acts as an example of the importance of all the relationships we have built with local communities.