AAMS Commends The FAA’s Move On Air Medical Safety


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AAMS Commends The FAA’s Move On Air Medical Safety

Shane Nolan

October 8, 2010 - The Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS), the industry trade organization for air-medical and critical-care transport, commended the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its much-anticipated Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on air-medical safety. 

The NPRM will be published in the Federal Register on October 12th and the 90-day public comment period closes on Jan. 10, 2011. The NPRM follows recommendations issued by the National Transportation Board (NTSB) after its three-day hearing last year. 

AAMS has cooperated extensively with both the FAA and the NTSB on the proposed regulatory initiatives, and they look forward to providing comments to the FAA on final implementation of these important safety measures.


In addition, AAMS welcomes an upcoming open dialogue with representatives from the FAA, who will be on hand to discuss the proposed rulemaking at the Air Medical Transport Conference (AMTC) in Ft. Lauderdale on Tuesday, October 12, 2010. In the meantime, however, AAMS reiterates that regulation alone is not enough. “A multilayered approach is necessary that is why we have not waited to take action. Instead, we have worked with our air-medical program members to do what we can now, on a voluntary basis, to make air-medical transport as safe as possible”. 

A vast majority of air medical vehicles have radar altimeters, more than 60 percent have night vision goggles and a growing percentage have terrain-avoidance mechanisms. As part of AAMS proactive safety efforts, AAMS and individual air-medical programs have been tackling human-factors and culture-of-safety issues. Among the safety-focused programs and initiatives they have undertaken, AAMS is ncouraging their members to participate in:

• A Safety Management Training Academy, now entering its second year; 

• Numerous safety-focused sessions at AMTC, Oct. 11-13 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida 

• Vision Zero, a program created by AAMS in 2005 to create a "culture of safety" through education, awareness and vigilance. 


Todate, human factors remain largely unexplored. AAMS' supporting foundation, Medevac Foundation International, is working with crash survivors on culture-of safety issues and funding research regarding pilot-fatigue and other concerns. One such recent study assessing perceptions of safety culture among emergency medical services (EMS) agencies revealed that EMS crews at air-medical agencies scored the highest nearly across the board (October-December 2010, Prehospital Emergency Care). However, these studies are only the beginning, AAMS need more government funding and public support for additional studies that address human-factors concerns. 

AAMS remains confident that through combined cooperative efforts in the regulatory arena, along with these proactive initiatives, they will achieve their chief objective: Making medevac transport safer without eroding service to Americans, who depend on it as an emergency care safety net, particularly in rural areas. 

The Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) is the trade association serving the entire air and critical care ground medical transport community. AAMS, together with its charitable arm, MedEvac Foundation International, strives to enhance the medical transport industry by promoting the highest level of industry safety; promoting quality patient care; inspiring commitment to the industry’s work, causes, and viability; and providing superior service to its members. For details, see www.aams.org.


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