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AAMS Works with FAA, Congress Toward Safety Enhancements

17th October 2008 - 00:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


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In light of recent accidents, the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) is working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and concerned members of Congress to actively promote safety enhancements in the air medical community through FAA rulemaking and federal legislation. AAMS is deeply saddened by these recent tragedies and offers the heartfelt condolences of all of its members to the families, friends, and co-workers of the victims of the most recent helicopter EMS accident.

AAMS and the FAA, along with representatives of the aviation community, have planned closed-door meetings to discuss short and long term rulemaking changes to address possible deficiencies in the current rules that apply to Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS). The purpose of these discussions, and the subsequent actions, is to increase the current regulatory standards based on recommendations made by the NTSB. AAMS also continues to support Congressional legislation that promotes changes similar to those under consideration in the regulatory arena. These changes include higher weather minima on all legs of an air medical flight, and the mandatory use of risk assessments before take-off. Furthermore, AAMS supports the continued study and future implementation of recording devices in helicopters, both in an effort to ensure flight quality and to provide additional information in the event of an incident or accident. AAMS also continues to advocate for low-altitude weather reporting and aviation infrastructure improvements desperately needed to enhance pilots’ decision-making.

While these efforts address both short and long term regulatory changes, AAMS also continues to promote safe operations in air medicine. Air medical transport is a critical part of the medical system in the United States, transporting nearly 400,000 patients via helicopter per year. These services transport the sickest and most critically ill patients, and the level of care offered by air medical services combined with the speed and accessibility of helicopters are often the determining factor in lifesaving medical interventions.

AAMS and its members recognize the urgent need to address the current safety issues; we also must continue to provide this lifesaving service at the highest level of safety possible.

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