Alexandria, VA – The Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) today declares its support for H.R. 3939, a bill to increase the safety for crew and passengers on an aircraft providing emergency medical services. This bill would make the necessary, practical regulatory and other changes within the air medical community to promote a safe transport environment for both patients and air medical crews while continuing to provide desperately needed air medical transport to the critically ill and injured.
H.R. 3939 provides valuable and practical safety enhancements, including:
• The necessary regulatory framework to operate all air medical flights with medical crew on board under Part 135 rules while maintaining access to the safety enhancements offered by instrument flight rules (IFR).
• Require that all air medical operators perform flight risk evaluations before flight, as recommended by AAMS, the National EMS Pilot’s Association (NESMPA), and the Air Medical Safety Advisory Council (AMSAC), and according to the systems recommended by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in Notice 8000.301, released in 2005.
• Requires the FAA to establish performance based flight dispatch procedures to ensure effective operational control over air medical flights without prohibiting their ability to serve their community’s by providing safe and effective air medical transport.
• Requires a study of the effectiveness and operation of new flight data and cockpit voice recording technology that would provide safety information for training and other purposes in addition to aiding post-crash investigations. The study will include engineers, regulators, and operators in the air medical community, and address issues of portability and financial concerns. The bill also requires that these devices be required according to a timeline developed by the FAA study.
Further, AAMS believes that HR 3939 is only the first step in an ongoing commitment by the federal government to enhancing safety for the low altitude aviation environment. These future efforts must provide helicopter operators that serve the public interest, including air medical, law enforcement, search and rescue, and fire services, with a robust aviation infrastructure similar to that of commercial aircraft. This infrastructure must include an enhanced weather reporting system that identifies and distributes useful information to the pilots and crews operating these aircraft in service to the public.
AAMS will continue to work with Congress and the FAA to find the most effective and practical ways to increase safety in the air medical community; HR 3939 is a tremendous step in that direction.
The Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) is the trade association serving the entire air and critical care ground medical transport community. AAMS 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 additional information, visit AAMS at www.aams.org.
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