Increased Awareness for Helicopter Safety

Popular Mechanics article looks at the history of medevac crashes and the efforts to reduce fatalities.

 

 
 
 

JEMS | | Thursday, June 17, 2010


An upcoming Popular Mechanics article tells of the fateful night when a Maryland state police helicopter crashed while transporting a patient and crew to a local hospital in 2008.

The detailed article champions the idea that medevac missions are perhaps the most dangerous of flights in commercial aviation. Flying at minimum altitudes, landing in modestly suitable locations, most medical helicopters lack safety equipment considered standard in other commercial aircraft.

The Maryland crash, as well as others before and after, has raised the awareness that many medical helicopters are not required to have safety equipment. Most operate without terrain warning systems, night vision goggles and flight data recorders. The equipment shortcomings result in a crash rate twice that of similar commercial aviation practices. In fact, according to a 2009 study referenced in the article, medevac personnel have a fatality rate higher than fishermen, loggers or steelworkers.

To provide one remedy, the article stresses the need for pre-flight weather checks. A 2006 NTSB study found that between 2002 and 2005, nearly half of the air ambulance crashes could have been prevented if crews and aircraft had better flight-risk assessments and tracking systems.

The article also includes the progress that some air ambulance organizations have made regarding tracking and safety equipment. Additionally, the air vs. ground debate and costs are presented. Popular Mechanics noted that in 1997 there were 330 medical helicopters in service. After Congress mandated new Medicare reimbursement rates for air ambulances, the number of helicopters has risen to 850.

Look for "Critical Condition" a Popular Mechanics Investigation, in the July 2010 issue.
 



Related Links:



Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, medevac, helicopter, 2008 Maryland Medevac crash

 
What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Four Killed in New Mexico Medical Plane Crash

Crash near fairgrounds claims patient and crew of three.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Texas Ambulance Involved in Crash

Odessa ambulance and car collide during response.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Las Vegas Fire, AMR Reach New Deal

Tentative agreement reached over ambulance calls.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Fire Damages Several Homes in California Earthquake

Four homes destroyed and others damaged after quake rattles Napa.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

New Mexico Air Ambulance Crash

NTSB investigates crash that killed four.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Where in the World of EMS is A.J.? Scranton

JEMS Editor-in-Chief visits his hometown of Scranton, Pa.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Over 100 Injured in California Earthquake

172 patients treated at Napa hospital after 6.0-magnitude earthquake.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >