The Flight Safety Foundation released an assessment that outlines the 26 greatest risks facing the helicopter emergency medical services industry, and steps that industry and regulators could take to mitigate these risks.
This is about the safety of the aircraft and those that travel within the aircraft, the crew and the patients, said Kimberley Turner, CEO of Aerosafe Risk Management, an Australian company that was commissioned by the industry to develop the risk profile.
Some of the highest risks to the industry include a lack of structure or governance to the helicopter emergency medical services, or HEMS, industry, inconsistency in payment among various HEMS programs, and too much variability in state licensing requirements and standards for these programs.
The risk profile is the latest in a series of actions by the industry and other transportation safety and medical organizations to reduce accidents. Responding to the high number of air ambulance crashes in 2008seven accidents in which 28 people were killedthe industry several months ago outlined specific recommendations to improve safety, including the required use of night-vision goggles and federal funding for hospital helipads.
The House Aviation Subcommittee plans to hold a hearing on oversight of medical helicopter services on Wednesday.